Case Review: Trial Court Rules in Favor of Wife in 3 Separate Appeals

Case Review: Trial Court Rules in Favor of Wife in 3 Separate Appeals

August 24, 2020

In three consolidated cases, the Sixth District affirmed the trial court’s issuance of a DVRO in Wife’s favor, reversed an order rescinding a prior award of attorney fees from Wife to Husband, and affirmed the denial of Husband’s petition for nullity.

It held:

  1. The DVRO was supported by sufficient evidence, including that Husband moved directly next door to Wife’s apartment knowing she still lived there, although he denied knowing she still lived there at the time;
  2. The trial court erred in “wiping out” a fee order from Wife to Husband after finding Husband not credible in a later proceeding, “but not because the trial court lacked jurisdiction to reconsider it. The trial court rescinded the order based on new evidence, rather than the evidence presented at the original proceeding. By so doing, the court in effect improperly granted a new trial, a result which lies outside its inherent powers;
  3. The trial court applied the correct legal standard to deny Husband’s request for a nullity based on his assertion that Wife married him just to obtain her green card, holding that “the trial court properly required Manish to show fraud by clear and convincing evidence in order to prevail on his petition for nullity. … Based on the evidence presented, the trial court found that, though Priyanka’s immigration status “may have played some indeterminate role” in the marriage, it was not enough to establish fraud “‘go[ing] to the very essence of the marriage relation.’” (Mitchell, supra, 40 Cal.App.5th at p. 238.) ‘Although there was conflicting evidence presented at trial, we are bound by the trial court’s interpretation of the facts.’ (In re Marriage of Liu, supra, 197 Cal.App.3d at p. 156.) Accordingly, we find that the trial court properly denied Manish’s petition for nullity.”

Read the court’s full opinion here.


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