Both Sides Had Paid Or Owed A Cumulative $1.841 Million In Dissolution Proceedings.
We are not sure that the appellate court was happy with any of the parties in this case that we now report on. After all, in the dissolution saga, ex-husband had paid attorneys $900,000, still owing $70,000, while ex-wife had paid $241,000, but owed her current attorney about $530,000. However, given this tremendous expenditure of about $1.841 million if our math is correct, looks like the appellate court kept its objectivity intact.
In Marriage of Stupp & Schilders, Case Nos. A146301/A148051 and A148382 (1st Dist., Div. 2 May 30, 2018) (all unpublished), the appellate court principally was reviewing discovery sanctions and Family Code section 271 sanctions against ex-wife and the denial of Family Code section 2030/2032 needs-based fee request by ex-wife. (The discovery sanctions against ex-wife totaled $8,971 [either in favor of ex-husband or his attorney] and $2,500 section 271 sanctions in favor of ex-husband). On the separate needs-based request, ex-wife sought $370,000 in fees from ex-husband, but the trial judge denied the request finding the parties were essentially in the same financial position.
The section 271 sanctions and denial of needs-based fees, with respect to ex-wife, were both reversed on appeal.
Section 271 sanctions. The discovery sanctions did get affirmed against ex-wife. However, the section 271 sanctions were overturned because the appellate court believed that this was a “double dip” award which was unfair given that the pain already was inflicted and ameliorated through the discovery sanctions award.
Needs-Based request by ex-wife. This one got reversed based on the record showing that the disposable monthly income was not “close” in nature. Ex-husband did have much more resources, such that he had much more of a “war chest” such that a restudy by the family judge law was required, although the appellate court astutely did not pass on what should be awarded—if anything—on remand.