Although “bad facts make bad law,” sad facts also make the law, good, bad, or indifferent. The next two cases we discuss demonstrate that truth.
Marriage of Feakins, Case No. A132338 (1st Dist., Div. 1 Jan. 22, 2013) (unpublished).
In this one, ex-husband out of a 17 year marriage was incarcerated for molesting ex-wife’s son from a prior marriage. During the dissolution proceeding, he moved for needs-based fees, a request denied by the lower court. Denial affirmed because he had substantial separate property funds in England and the absence of any income was due to his own volitional acts landing him in prison.
Marriage of Cesana, Case No. A134092 (1st Dist., Div. 3 Jan. 22, 2013) (unpublished).
Ex-wife and ex-husband ended 24 years of marriage with a stipulated judgment of dissolution, providing for spousal support awards to ex-wife. Ex-husband clearly had better income production since the dissolution, and he remarried such that he received income from a management role for a company owned with his new wife--leading the lower court to “split” the business income between the two in awarding $15,000 out of a requested $50,000 in needs-based fees incurred in the litigation over on-going spousal support obligations. This determination, too, was affirmed, with the appellate court finding no abuse of discretion in the income attribution formula in tandem with the lower court’s award of under one-third of the requested fees.