In 2014, What are Sanctions in a Family Case for Paternity, Legal Separation or Divorce and why is This Important?
If you are a parent or spouse [or both] in a family law case in San Diego Superior Court for a divorce, legal separation or paternity, you are probably only interested in litigating the issues of the case itself: custody; visitation; child support; spousal support; division of assets; division of debts; attorney fees and others such as temporary exclusive use. However, in certain cases, you or the opposing party can ask for a monetary award [sanctions] which have nothing to do with the underlying issues. This is very important since, often, spouses and parents are very emotional and make decisions based on emotion rather than the law or what they would normally do if not emotional. Unfortunately, poor emotional decisions can lead to consequences which can be very expensive financially and time consuming. Sanctions are used to deter conduct in most instances. These sanctions can be under the Family Law Code or under the Code of Civil Procedure and both have different procedures. Even though your case is in Family Law Court, the Code of Civil Procedure can apply. There are other sanction provisions in the law as well.Family Law Code 271 Sanctions Are For Attorney Fee Awards As Well
One of the most prevalent sanction motions filed in San Diego Superior Court are for Family Law Code Section 217 sanctions and as attorney fees. This Code bases an award of attorney fees on conduct where the law to promote settlement is frustrated by unreasonable litigation and conduct. The law encourages settlements and seeks to lessen litigation. As above, in many family law cases in San Diego Superior Court, the party is interested in litigating as much as possible and is very unreasonable and does not want to settle for many different reasons. For example, fault is not an issue in a divorce or legal separation in San Diego Court. Many litigants, however, have bad feelings regarding the marriage, separation or new boyfriend or girlfriend and want revenge. The way the try and take revenge is through litigation and this Code section is designed to prevent this. In many cases, notice is given of sanctionable conduct and, if the conduct is withdrawn, then no sanctions. This is akin to the section below however there is no “safe harbor” provision for 271 sanctions.Code Of Civil Procedure 128.7 Sanctions
In this Code, the focus is on pleadings and not conduct. Whenever pleadings are filed with the San Diego Superior Court, the pleadings must meet certain criteria. These include that the pleadings are not being presented properly for a purpose which is improper, that they are not being filed to harass or cause delay which is not necessary or to increase without need the costs of litigation, that the defenses, claims and legal contentions are supported by existing law, that there is evidentiary support of the allegations and others. There is a “safe harbor” 21 day provision which requires, before a notice for sanctions is filed under CCP 128.7, that the “offending party” withdraw. Filing the notice for sanctions under CCP 128.7 without first providing the 21 day notice, is itself sanctionable. As you can see, this is a very complicated area of the law.The Law Office Of Doppelt and Forney, APLC Can Assist In Avoiding Sanctions
Again, many times, litigants are very emotional. At the law office of Doppelt and Forney, APLC, we try and ask the parties make decisions not based on emotion but based on the law, facts of their case, evidence and other factors which are legally relevant. It is important not to make a bad situation any worse and a free in-person or virtual consultation can help very much. Please feel free to schedule yours today to try and avoid sanctions in your case.