|Disagree. This recommendation is sadly lacking.
Perjury is a way of life in family court—not just by litigants but also by attorneys. The litigation privilege plus anti-pro-per attitudes have resulted in blatant lying by certain attorneys. And it takes a lot more effort to disprove lies than to make them. Fee awards should address these issues. The prevailing attitude, once we prove that a lie has been made is, “Ok, counsel you’ve proved that was false—now move on.” Then we move on to trying to disprove the newest set of lies, and that too takes a huge effort. I also see pro per’s draggling along behind certain lying lawyers and usually not successfully unmasking the lies. This is a huge problem. When it is proved that one party has lied to the court, judges should consider applying that to their future testimony. It shouldn’t just be, “Ok, move on.” It should be considered in fee awards not just regarding sanctions, but lying creates a NEED for fees on the part of the one who has to keep disproving the lies. This is one aspect of family court that really brings it into disrepute with those who enter our portals—the inability to deal with perjury. Statutes and case law already permit the setting aside of orders obtained with perjured testimony in many cases. Something more is necessary to change the situation.
National Coalition For Family Justice West
Santa Clara, CA
Law Office of Robin Yeamans