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Orange County Divorce Blog

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Sanctions in Divorce Court

In re Marriage of Perow and Uzelac determined that sanctions under Family Code section 271 are not requests for affirmative relief under section 213 of the Family Code and can be raised and considered in responsive declarations.

The parties to this marriage had a child together. However, the mother learned that the father molested a minor step daughter before they were married. After the divorce, the father filed a request to modify custody but did not disclose to the court that he had been convicted of molestation.

In the family court proceedings the judge denied the father’s motion after it was disclosed that the father had a criminal conviction for molestation. The court awarded the mother the sanctions she requested in her responsive paperwork based on the fact that the father’s actions frustrated settlement. The father appealed.

The father argued that the mother’s request for attorney fees in her responsive papers exceeded the scope of the petition and that she should have filed a separate motion for sanctions. The court of appeals rejected the father’s request stating that a requirement to file additional paperwork for sanctions would result in duplicate pleadings requiring more court time. The court held that the request for sanctions is not a request for affirmative relieve under section 213.

Although the posting of this information can be considered free legal advice for a divorce in Orange County, it does not address other factors which may play a significant role in a particular dissolution. Circumstances in your divorce may alter the results in your dissolution.

Please note that this legal advice does not establish a family law attorney-client relationship. This is a legal advertisement for Treviño Law, Inc.