But No Appellate Fees Awarded To Ex-Husband.
In Marriage of Reed, Case No. G050666 (4th Dist., Div. 3 May 15, 2018) (unpublished), ex-wife was assessed with $20,000 in sanctions under Family Code section 271 and another $5,000 in sanctions for breach of fiduciary duty for failure to disclose the existence of a community property pension, both in favor of ex-husband. Wife’s appeal failed to surmount the deferential abuse of discretion standard. The many continuances, delays, and no-shows by ex-wife meant that ex-husband had to repeatedly submit income and expense declarations and his counsel had to go to court unnecessarily, justifying the section 271 sanctions. Three Family Code provisions—section 1101(g), section 2107(c), and section 271(a)—collectively give the court authority to order sanctions and pay attorney’s fees for breach of a party’s fiduciary duty of disclosure, which would encompass failure to disclose the existence of ex-wife’s retirement plan and with the appellate court observing that the lower court was lenient in only imposing $5,000 in sanctions. Ex-husband asked for an award of fees on appeal, but that was denied because ex-husband failed to provide any financial information of ex-wife so as to justify an award under Family Code section 2030 and because the reviewing court on its own raised the key jurisdictional issue such that section 271 appellate sanctions were unwarranted.
Justice Fybel authored this 3-0 panel opinion.