Titus v. Titus

Full title: In re Marriage of CHRISTOPHER and ERIN TITUS. CHRISTOPHER TITUS…

Court: COURT OF APPEAL OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA SECOND APPELLATE DISTRICT DIVISION SEVEN

Date published: Jan 8, 2013

Facts

Christopher and Erin Titus were married in 1991 and have two minor children. They separated on June 4, 2006, and Christopher filed a petition for dissolution of marriage on June 7, 2006. After very contentious proceedings during which both parties were represented by counsel, the trial court entered judgment as to status only on November 2, 2009. The parties entered into marital settlement agreements on June 4, 2010, and August 13, 2010. These agreements addressed property, education, custody and visitation issues.

Issue

Decision

The trial court found that Christopher “was on ‘the road’ doing his comedy act in distant and remote locations (and therefore could not sign checks or make deposits himself), and [that Erin] was in charge of paying the community bills and [the business’] bills as well, it became a custom and practice in the marriage for [Erin] to sign [Christopher’s] name to checks for deposit and to pay for bills of [the business] and the home. [Christopher] knew about this and authorized this; otherwise, the income received in the form of checks and bills for [the business] and the household would never be paid. [Christopher] weakly admitted as much when he stated that the ‘horse was out of the barn’ and [Erin] just continued to write the checks and he never did anything to prevent it.” The trial court also found that the evidence showed “that the parties did not respect the corporate shell” and paid business and personal bills from both accounts. While Christopher objected to Erin’s signing checks on the business account to pay personal bills, he “never undertook to transfer funds or pay bills himself or take other steps to change the procedure.” The trial court found that by doing so, Christopher ratified Erin’s actions and that Christopher’s “testimony to the contrary is not credible.”

On appeal, Christopher relies on the evidence he presented (or attempted to present in his motion for reconsideration) supporting his claim of misappropriation. Christopher, however, has not demonstrated error. The trial court noted that there was conflicting evidence, including testimony by Christopher that the court found was not credible, and it believed Erin over Christopher. As noted above, when an appellant challenges the trial court’s factual findings, we defer to the trial court’s determination of credibility. (In re Marriage of Balcof, supra, 141 Cal.App.4th at p. 1531In re Marriage of Calcaterra & Badakhsh, supra, 132 Cal.App.4th at p. 34.) We view the evidence in the light most favorable to the prevailing party resolve all evidentiary conflicts and draw all reasonable inferences in support of the trial court’s findings. (In re Marriage of Mix, supra, 14 Cal.3d at p. 614.) Moreover, by citing only his evidence and not the contrary evidence credited by the trial court, Christopher has not met his burden of demonstrating that the trial court’s findings on Christopher’s breach of fiduciary duty claim are not supported by substantial evidence. (See In re Marriage of Rothrock, supra, 159 Cal.App.4th at p. 230In re Marriage of Nichols, supra, 27 Cal.App.4th at pp. 672-673, fn. 3; In re Marriage of Schroeder, supra, 192 Cal.App.3d at p. 1164.)

The judgment is affirmed. Erin is to recover her costs on appeal.

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