She Was Not Impecunious, And Former Husband Looked To Be Candid--Fee Awards Sustained.
In re Marriage of Hardiman, Case No. A133266 (1st Dist., Div. 1 Jan. 25, 2013) (unpublished) is an interesting dissolution case pitting well healed ex-spouses, mainly due to Genetech/Roche stock options that actually came to roost and helped both sides. In the end, ex-wife was sanctioned for Family Code section 271 fees of $40,000 for taking uncooperative actions or positions and was denied needs-based fees under Family Code sections 2030/2032.
The fee awards were affirmed on appeal.
The 271 sanctions were justified because ex-husband did not make any nondisclsoures in connection with 2005 stock option sales. These sales had been allocated to husband as separate property and he certainly did not hide anything of consequence.
The needs-based fee denial did not go very far because, unlike other cases (even those involving wealthy litigants), the disparity in wealth was not that great and showed ex-wife had plenty of resources to wage dissolution war--ex-wife had liquid assets of $2.9 million and the net worth disparity was not that great ($5 million for wife and $9 million for husband). That distinguished the different result in In re Marriage of Sorge, 202 Cal.App.4th 626, 663 (2012), where the disparity was husband’s liquid assets of $64 million versus wife’s $7.5 million. Different case, different case, different result. Fee awards affirmed.