Tag-Archive for » Family Law «

Ouch!  That has to hurt!  Running for a judicial seat and then sanctioned and reported to the State Bar.  This just happened to attorney Judy Conard, who practices in Lake County, California.

The First Appellate Court found the appeal to be frivolous and not only sanctioned Ms. Conard $6,000, but issued $15,000 in sanctions against her client as well.

Last October, Theodore Parfet, who lives in Michigan, appealed an order that he pay the attorney fees for Amy Tucker, the Respondent in the Family Law case, incurred while she opposed his motions to modify child custody, visitation and child support, according to the decision, which can be read here.

Ms. Conard said they appealed the amount of attorneys’ fees, which at nearly $80,000 were in excess of what the interim fees were to be.  The three appellate justices found “the degree of objective frivolousness and delay is extremely high,” and that “pursuing a meritless appeal of an attorney fee award under the circumstances of this case flies in the face of the very purpose of the Family Code attorney fees statutes.”  Further, they found that Conard had a professional responsibility not to pursue a frivolous appeal just because her client instructed her to do so, the justices said Conard violated her duties by facilitating the appeal “and by advancing arguments which exceed the bounds of both common sense and sound advocacy.”

The justices also stated “We join other courts in recognizing that the respondent is not theonly party damaged by a frivolous appeal.” ‘Others with bona fide disputes, as well as the taxpayers, are prejudiced by the wasteful diversion of an appellate court’s limited resources.’  The handling of this appeal has imposed a burden on this court.”

 To add insult to injury, Ms. Conard and the court clerk were each ordered to forward a copy of this opinion to the State Bar upon return of the remittitur.  Whether charges will be filed by the bar against Ms. Conard has yet to be seen.  The lesson here for attorneys?  Beware of filing an appeal just because your client wants you to, be sure that there is merit to the appeal, it could cost you, not only monetarily but professionally.
Enhanced by Zemanta
GD Star Rating
loading...
GD Star Rating
loading...
Share

In case you were out this week and missed the new fee increases,  (lucky you if you are), I am attaching the new Statewide Fee Schedule for your reading pleasure.   Of course, you should check with your county to make sure when the fees increase there, I know they did in the county in which I work effective July 2nd.

In reviewing the new fees for my county, I was shocked to learn that the fees for the filing for a Complaint and an Answer in Civil, a Petition for Dissolution or Legal Separation or First Paper Fee in Family, and Petitions in Probate all increased from $395 to $435.

Be sure to check out the other increases, such as filing motions, delivery of a will to the court, court reporter fees and child custody evaluations.  Also, don’t forget that your local rules may have changed effective July 1st as well.

Stay safe and have a wonderful Fourth of July!

 

Enhanced by Zemanta
GD Star Rating
loading...
GD Star Rating
loading...
Share

Family Law attorney Judith Soley, 65, and her client were gunned down at a Bass Lake restaurant Feb. 16 by the client’s husband, who later turned the gun on himself.  Ms. Soley and Sandra Williamson, 65, her client, were leaving a restaurant during a break in court proceedings when Williamson’s estranged husband, James, began beating Soley, who was in her van at that time, and then shot her in the head.  He chased his wife into the kitchen of the restaurant, where he shot her in the head, before fleeing in a pickup.  Officers later found Williamson in his home, where he died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Ms. Soley was the first woman president of the Fresno County Bar Association, and was active in both legal and community circles and was one of the first women to be certified as a family law specialist by the State Bar.  Ms. Soley became a lawyer when women didn’t frequently join the profession and she built a successful practice and, as a single mother, raised her daughter, who became her law partner.

Judith Soley, Esq.

Ms. Soley used a wheelchair all her life, but traveled the world, including visits to the Great Wall of China, Russia, England and Hawaii, as well as stints in Italy and Mexico to perfect her language skills. She graduated from UCLA and received her law degree from Boalt Hall, beginning her practice in 1971.

Ms. Williamson was a labor and delivery coach for 15 years and Mr. Williamson was a retired Los Angeles firefighter.  Friends of the couple said that Mr. Williamson was manic depressive and refused to take his medication, per reports to them by Ms. Williamson several years ago.  The parties’ divorce was an on again, off again action for the last seven years.  The initial divorce was filed in 2004 and the couple reconciled only to separate in 2007 when Ms. Williamson obtained a restraining order for domestic violence.  In 2010, she tried to have the restraining order renewed but was unable to locate the whereabouts of Mr. Williamson and was unable to have it served.

Sandra Williamson

There was also a civil action between the parties in which Mr. Williamson obtained a loan after he forged his wife’s signature on a deed to gain sole possession of the family home.  Ms. Williamson later had the deed voided in court — but not before Williamson took out a $942,000 bank loan based on the forged deed and transferred the money to a joint account he had with a nephew.  The civil suit was still pending at the time of the divorce proceeding.  This was by no means a simple divorce.  You can read the trial brief here prepared by Ms. Soley, which details the many alleged actions of Mr. Williamson.

Family Law can sometimes become very volatile when dealing with very emotional issues and those of us in family law are aware of the dangers that sometimes occur in divorce and custody matters.  If you talk to a Family Law attorney, you will no doubt hear of some opposing party who has become angry with the soon to be ex’s attorney, and has made some threatening comment or threatened some action against that attorney.

Working in family law, I have witnessed many times when this has occurred and have had to call in police assistance to escort the opposing party out of the law office during heated moments.  One former attorney I worked for has had to be escorted along with the client, from the courthouse to their vehicles by the bailiff, after being threatened in the hallway during negotiations with the opposing party, his counsel and the client.

My thoughts and prayers go out to Ms. Soley’s family and staff and Ms. Williamson’s family and co-workers.

Enhanced by Zemanta
GD Star Rating
loading...
GD Star Rating
loading...
Share
The Marin County Civic Center
Image via Wikipedia
In case you missed this notice sent out on August 13, 2010:
MARIN COURT REDUCES PUBLIC BUSINESS HOURS
IN CLERK’S OFFICES ROOMS 113 AND C-10
CIVIC CENTER HALL OF JUSTICE
Beginning September 1, 2010, the Court will shorten public business hours in the Clerk’s Offices. In Room C-10, the Clerk’s Office for criminal and minor offense/traffic case processing, the new public hours will be 8:00 AM – 3:00 PM daily. In Room 113, the Clerk’s Office for civil, family law, probate, juvenile and small claims filing, the new public hours will be 8:30 AM to 3:30 PM daily. As required by California Rules of Court, a drop box will be located in Court
Administration in Room 116 to collect documents and other court transactions between 3:00 and 4:00 each court business day. All deposits in the drop box up to and including 4:00 each day will be deemed to have been delivered or filed on that day. Staff in Court Administration will accept documents but will not be able to answer questions about cases, citations or other court business.
As a result of the severe, permanent cuts to the judicial branch budget, the Marin County Superior Court has decreased its staff by more than 20% since 2008. These workforce reductions necessitate the early closure of Clerk’s Offices, to allow staff time to process filed documents in compliance with legal requirements as well as handling other transactions in a timely manner.
Court Executive Officer Kim Turner lamented the reduction in public business hours. She said, “Closing these offices early is contrary to our philosophy that the courts should be open to the people we serve, but we must take these measures to ensure that we have sufficient resources to process the cases before the court. We look forward to the day when critical funding is restored to the California judicial system so that we can resume our fundamental goal of
increasing public access to the courts. We hope that this necessary reduction in public business hours is short-lived and that the Court will soon be in a position to return to full staffing and enhanced public service.”
For additional information regarding this press release, contact
Kim Turner, Court Executive Officer at (415) 444-7020.
Enhanced by Zemanta
GD Star Rating
loading...
GD Star Rating
loading...
Share

There are several judicial council forms that will change effective January 1, 2010. There are new forms in Appellate, Domestic Violence, Electronic Filing and Service, Family Law, Name Change, Subpoena and Miscellaneous forms as well. There are many revised in these areas of law as well as in Civil and Elder Law. To see the complete list, click here.

GD Star Rating
loading...
GD Star Rating
loading...
Share