In the case of In re Marriage of Charles and Lori Schleich, the lower trial court tried to impose sanctions against the husband for failing to disclose his separate property, post-separation income, and a car that was purchased after the date of separation with funds from community property. The court based its rational on Family Code Section 1101(g).
On appeal, the appellate court overturned the sanctions against the husband regarding the separate property assets. However, the appellate court noted that Mr. Schleich might still be liable for sanctions under Family Code Section 2107 for breaching his duty to disclose the funds used to purchase the car.
However, it was the husband’s failure to cooperate and honor his duty to disclose his assets during the divorce that ended up haunting him. The wife asked for payment of her attorney’s fees because the husband was not cooperative during the preliminary disclosure and discovery process. The appellate court dropped some of the fees she requested in light of the husband’s separate property issue we discussed above. In the end though, the appellate court asked the trial court to again resolve the dispute about attorney fees.
Overall, the wife is more than likely going have a portion of her attorney’s fees paid for by her husband as a form of sanctions because of his deception during the preliminary disclosure and the discovery processes of their divorce.
What Should I Take Away From This Case?
The first thing you should take away from this case is that courts cannot take your separate property assets and give them to your spouse as a form of sanctions against you. Second, it will save you more time and legal expenses if you are cooperative during the preliminary disclosure and discovery process of your divorce. Attempting to conceal your assets during your divorce can end up hurting your settlement in the long-run.
At the Zahn Law Offices, APC, our lawyers are here to serve families in Ventura with all of their family law disputes. We have over 15 years of experience handling divorce cases, and we can ensure that your rights and interests are protected. Let us put our skills to work for you today.