Marriage of Stitt
Court of Appeal of California
147 Cal. App. 3d 579 (1983)
Mr. Stitt (defendant) and Mrs. Stitt (plaintiff) were married. Mrs. Stitt was employed as a manager for Zingo’s. During Mrs. Stitt’s employment, Mrs. Stitt embezzled money from Zingo’s. There was no evidence that Mr. Stitt benefitted from Mrs. Stitt’s embezzlement. Zingo’s sued Mrs. Stitt for fraud and misappropriation of funds. Mrs. Stitt was also tried and convicted of embezzlement from Zingo’s. Mrs. Stitt was ordered to pay Zingo’s restitution as a condition of her probation. Mrs. Stitt sold her separate property to pay the restitution. Two different law firms represented Mrs. Stitt in the civil and criminal suits. Mrs. Stitt owed the law firms for her attorney’s fees. Mr. and Mrs. Stitt owned a piece of property, the Hageman Road property, which was considered community property according to a premarital agreement between Mr. and Mrs. Stitt. The title to the Hageman Road property was in Mrs. Stitt’s name. After Mr. and Mrs. Stitt separated, Mrs. Stitt executed a trust deed on the Hageman Road property to the two law firms for the remainder of the fees owed. In the marital-dissolution proceeding, the trial court found that Mrs. Stitt’s obligations for the attorney’s fees were incurred during the marriage. The trial court held that the attorney’s fees were not a community debt and were solely Mrs. Stitt’s obligation. Mrs. Stitt appealed the trial court’s judgment.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Woolpert, J.)
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