In Placer County Family Law cases courts give tremendous leeway to the parties in litigating their cases. However, there are always extreme cases in which one party is litigating too aggressively and improperly. (Examples of aggressive or improper litigation include filing repetitive motions on issues recently decided by the judge, disobeying judicial orders and court rules, failing to provide documents by required court dates, etc.) Family Code §271 permits the harmed party to request attorney fees as a sanction for engaging in overly litigious conduct that frustrates settlement, and violates legal policy promoting cost reduction and cooperation. The theory behind this statute is that the party who unnecessarily inflated the legal costs of the other party should repay the harmed party some of their legal costs expended in opposing the unnecessary conduct.
It should be noted that Family Code §271 is only designed for extreme conduct. The Placer County judges do not usually award sanctions in minor or moderate cases. Also, the Placer County judges will need to review each party’s Income and Expense declaration (Family Law Form FL-150) to determine if it is equitable to award attorney fees and sanctions given the comparative incomes of the parties.
If you are involved in a Placer County Family law case and your ex-partner is engaging in conduct designed to increase legal costs and undermine reasonable cooperation, please give us a call. We can help you understand the issues in your case and evaluate the attorney fee claims in a free half-hour attorney consultation.