Cox v. CoxAnnotate this Case
This case stemmed from a divorce action by Husband against Wife. Husband tendered a settlement offer to Wife, but Wife did not agree to the offer. The case was tried, and the family court ultimately issued a divorce decree that divided the parties’ marital assets. Following an unsuccessful appeal by Wife, Husband moved for an award of post-offer attorney’s fees and costs pursuant to Hawaii Family Court Rules (HFCR) Rule 68. The family court granted the motion as to Husband’s post-offer trial fees and costs and denied the motion as to Husband’s appellate fees and costs. The Intermediate Court of Appeals (ICA) vacated the family court order, ruling that appellate fees are recoverable under Rule 68. The court remanded the case to the family court to determine whether an award of appellate fees to Husband would be inequitable pursuant to the provisions of Haw. Rev. Stat. 580-47. Husband appealed, arguing that he was entitled to appellate fees as a matter of law. The Supreme Court vacated the ICA’s judgment, holding (1) the 2006 and 2015 versions of HFCR Rule 68 do not apply to family court cases governed by Haw. Rev. Stat. 580-47; and (2) therefore, Husband is not entitled to appellate attorney’s fees under Rule 68.