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Tentative Ruling
Judge Thomas Anderle
Department 3 SB-Anacapa
1100 Anacapa Street P.O. Box 21107 Santa Barbara, CA 93121-1107


Isabel Bayrakdarian and Serouj Kradjian

Case No: 17FL01292
Hearing Date: Tue Mar 13, 2018 10:30

Nature of Proceedings: Req. for Order: Child Custody/Child Support/Visitation/Spousal Support/Attorney's Fees & Costs

Father’s RFO


Marisa K. Beuoy, Attorney for Petitioner (“mother”)

Georgia Staab, Attorney for Respondent (“father”)

Ruling: The Court will continue all the issues raised in the RFO until trial which is only six weeks away. Be ready to go forward on 4/24/18.


The case was filed in May 2017; in September 2017, with the concurrence of mother’s previous attorney [Elvia P Garcia] and father’s present attorney [Georgia Staab, who substituted in on 8/24/17], the case was set for a MSC of 3/23/18; trial confirmation for 4/24/18. Mother substituted new counsel in on 2/6/18 [Marisa K. Beuoy]. The Court will not “adjust the trial dates” based upon father’s RFO and the contentions made; indeed, his contentions only reinforce the fact that this case needs to be settled or tried promptly and on schedule.

Father’s RFO

Filed 1/26; seeks custody orders, child and spousal support orders; visitation orders, attorney fees orders [seeks $45,000]. Testifies that in 2012, mother demanded that they relocate the family to Fresno so she could live near her mother and brother; proved an ill-advised move for his career; career trajectory declined significantly after relocation; mother’s income has always been far superior to his, even before that move; mother, as the superior wage earner, continued to travel for her performances; he became the primary caretaker of their two children; in June, 2016, mother accepted a job as an Associate Professor of Voice at UCSB; they relocated once again, this time to Goleta; was still another setback to his career; in May, 2017, when mother announced she wanted a divorce, with the knowledge that he would no longer share in her income, he returned to Toronto, where he had greater exposure, and therefore increased job opportunities.

He testifies about custody and time share issues; requests a holiday schedule; wants joint physical custody, although not a precisely equal timeshare; to facilitate Facetiming with his daughter, requests that mother be ordered to install Facetime on daughter’s iPad; requests an award of pendente lite child and spousal support; claims on the one hand that there are significant property issues for which investigation, discovery and valuations will be necessary, and on the other hand he does not pretend to know the identity of all their assets; ask for an attorneys’ fee award of $35,000 and costs of $10,000.

Mother’s contentions

Contrary to what father says, there are no complicated issues in this case. All of the real property owned by the parties was sold years ago, and nothing is left today that will require tracing. Mother is primarily a W-2 wage earner. Her self-employment income is less than $20,000 per year (net), as is father's. These are very simple income issues which do not require a forensic accountant to evaluate. The date of marriage, although contested, has minimal significance in this case, given that there is virtually no property to divide. Bifurcation would not be warranted under the facts of this case. Father's financial requests are predominately founded on speculation and imagined wealth. Neither father nor his attorney asked mother to voluntarily provide information or explanation for many of the issues raised for the first time in his declaration prior to filing this RFO. For example, had his attorney simply inquired about the alleged "undisclosed accounts," mother could have pointed out the matching account numbers on the tax returns and Schedule of Assets and Debts, and provided the closing statements for the accounts which were closed. Instead, an inordinate amount of this response has been devoted to correcting father's false assertions and speculations, wasting the Court's time and incurring unnecessary fees. This is a no-asset case. Mother has no ability to pay fees. And, given that there are virtually no community assets and father has limited income, it would not be appropriate for the Court to order mother to pay fees subject to "reallocation", as there is no way for herto be made whole if such reallocation were to occur. It is requested that the Court deny the request for attorney's fees and make temporary orders which permit father to visit with the children in Santa Barbara pending trial, as proposed in mother's declaration.

Mother contends that father’s request for attorney fees is made in bad faith; in order for the Court to award attorney fees to father, it must find that mother has the ability to pay those fees; on form FL-158 of his RFO, father states, under penalty of perjury, that the $45,000 in fees he is requesting "can be paid from the following sources": Scotiabank xo789, "approximate balance: $15,000." This account was closed in February 2017, over one year ago. Mother has provided the closing statement in her Local Rule 1419 Declaration. Scotiabank x6922, "approximate balance: $11,000." This is a knowingly false statement. Father knows that this account was closed last November and he knows that the account did not have $11,000 in it.

Father’s Reply filed 3/6

It is 30 pages long; the Court will only summarize albeit I have read it all; he filed this motion in an effort to formalize his rights and his role as a father; obviously cannot at present exercise a “traditional” custodial arrangement of alternating weeks, or some other schedule which equalizes his time with the children; is asking for a joint legal and physical custodial arrangement, albeit not a 50/50 timeshare, with four or five days, hopefully each month with the children in Santa Barbara, supplemented by longer periods of time with the children in Toronto with him; has requested eight weeks in the summer; also asking for shared holidays with the children on the schedule proposed.

He testifies the attached Exhibit “A” reflects, she has deposited over $15,000 a month into her bank account like clockwork for the last year, and each and every month since she threw him out; these are not his numbers, but mother’s numbers; he has asked for an award of attorney fees, because he knew that he needed financial assistance in order to litigate this matter on “a level playing field;” hadn’t realized until he saw mother’s financial documents was how ‘tilted’ that playing field already is; didn’t realize until he saw her Declaration how much time and effort the case will consume.

Court’s Conclusions

Trial is only six weeks away; all these issue can wait until then. If the Court were to embrace father’s issues in the RFO, it would be tantamount to deciding exactly the same issues that need to be decided in six weeks.

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