Failure to Specify Statutory Basis For Fee Award Was Not Reversible Error.
Husband in Marriage of Fong, Case No. B233513 (2d Dist., Div. 3) (unpublished) got hit with a $180,000 adverse award of attorney’s fees in favor of wife under various Family Code sections based on need or sanctioning authority--areas we have discussed a lot in the past under our Home Page category “Family Law” or “Family Law Awards.” So, what did he do? You got it--appealed, but with no luck.
His principal argument was the failure to specify a statutory section for the fee award resulted in reversible error. Not so, said the appellate panel deciding the case. The statement of decision by the lower court was specific enough so there were bases to affirm the award under either the needs-based or sanctioning bases. After all, wife had to bounce from L.A. to Seattle and later move to Tennessee to live with her parents, establishing a disparity with husband’s income/assets.