George & Deamon: Sanctions; Right to Evidentiary Hearing

In re Marriage of George & Deamon (Sanctions; Right to Evidentiary Hearing)

California Court of Appeal, Fourth District

Published Opinion, (2019) 35 Cal.App.5th 476

File Date:
Filed 5-17-2019

The ex-wife was ordered to pay $10,000 in sanctions to her former husband under Family Code section 271 because he had to file a motion to enter judgment on their marital settlement agreement. She appealed claiming that the family court erred and needed to hear oral testimony before sanctioning her and improperly relied on documents filed in support of the sanctions motion. The appellate court affirmed, holding that she forfeited her right to present live testimony in sanctions hearing, and there was no prejudice by any failure of the family court to make express findings on good cause existed to disallow live testimony.

The Court of Appeal agreed that Family Code section 217 would have required live testimony on the sanctions motion had the ex-wife followed the procedures to present that testimony, unless there was good cause to exclude it. But she did not require her ex-husband to appear at the hearing for cross-examination by a notice to appear pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure section 1987, subdivision (b). By not providing any live witnesses whose testimony the family court could “receive” into evidence, she waived the right to present that testimony under Family Code section 217.

George & Deamon 5-17-19

The case listed here was not handled by Walzer Melcher unless the description states that Walzer Melcher appeared as counsel.