Westlake Village & Thousand Oaks Divorce Attorney

Monetary Fee Sanctions Awarded Against a father For Bad Conduct During Litigation

A trial court properly awarded sanctions against a father under Family Code Section 271 for filing a host of largely frivolous contempt allegations against his ex-wife. His bad conduct violated the public policies of promoting settlement, reducing the cost of litigation, and encouraging the cooperation of the parties and counsel. Parker v Harbert (2012) 212 CA4th 1172.

After extensive custody litigation between parents about their child over a 10 year time period, the father filed contempt proceedings against the mother based on allegations that she refused to bring their child to prison to visit him while he was incarcerated, to grant access to the child's medical records, and to help the child take his full course of poison oak medication.

At trial, the mother was acquitted of all charges and the court imposed $87,000 in sanctions against the father. The court explained that the mother's conduct did not constitute "the sort of egregious behavior that any objective party would have seen as warranting the pursuit of contempt allegations" and expressed the opinion that most of the contempt allegations were frivolous.

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