Sanctions, Sanctions, Sanctions! (Family code 271)

All too often in family law parties stonewall one another. They make frivolous requests. They inundate the other side with faxes, emails, messages, letters, useless interrogatories, and more. They refuse to accept a very reasonable settlement offer.

What can a poor spouse do, but go to trial or cave and take a low-ball settlement offer? Family Code § 271 is here to help. Basically, § 271 says that if the other side doesn’t play ball or doesn’t play nice the court can make them pay the other side’s attorney fees. Awesome. It applies even if the paying spouse doesn’t have a lawyer themselves. Here is the text of § 271:

(a) Notwithstanding any other provision of this code, the court may base an award of attorney’s fees and costs on the extent to which the conduct of each party or attorney furthers or frustrates the policy of the law to promote settlement of litigation and, where possible, to reduce the cost of litigation by encouraging cooperationbetween the parties and attorneys.

So, remember to play nice, or else you be paying for your ex’s legal fees.

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