As Professor Shaun Martin of the University of San Diego School of Law says on his Blog, California Appellate Report:
"It's tough to figure out who to root for here.
"In the red corner, we have Maryanne Sorge. In the blue corner, we have Joseph Sorge. Maryanne and Joseph were married, but are now divorced."
After their divorce, Maryanne, the ex-wife of Joseph, who is a wealthy businessman, sought a modification of a child support order after she learned he'd sold his business for $100 million. Joseph challenged the modification on the grounds that he had invested millions in a start-up company and had significant losses. He wanted the trial court to base his support on the income he actually had, not imputed income. The court determined that it could use the high earning capacity Joseph could have had rather than his actual income in calculating child support. Sorge also appealed the award of sanctions and also of attorney fees.
It seems that Joseph was pretty steamed after a trial court judge ordered him to pay his ex-wife's attorney fees in a post-judgment child support modification. Sorge was ordered to pay $200,000 in legal fees for his ex-wife's attorney during and after a bitter child support modification motion. Subsequently, he was ordered to pay about $60,000 for her appellate attorney fees. Plus sanctions . . .
Joseph really didn't want to pay Maryanne's attorney fees as the California appellate decision makes clear:
Joseph argues that Maryanne has no need for assistance in paying her attorney
fees, and, therefore, that the trial court abused its discretion when it awarded her
$200,000 in attorney fees related to the litigation between the parties in the trial court.
As Joseph puts it, “[t]he question is a narrow one—does a person worth $14 million,
over half of which is liquid, who was already receiving in excess of $16,000 per month in
spousal and child support, and who was just awarded $414,444 in retroactive child
support for a child in her care 50% of the time, ‘need’ $200,000 in attorney fees?”
The appellate court demonstrated no sympathy for Joseph:
The trial court considered the parties' relative financial circumstances and made
the following findings related to the attorney fee award: (1) at that point in time
Maryanne had paid $226,000 in attorney fees and costs and owed another $115,000;
(2) Joseph had paid $280,000 in attorney fees and costs; (3) Maryanne had $7.5 million
in liquid assets; (4) Joseph had $64 million in liquid assets; (5) Joseph had possessed the bulk of the financial information that was at issue in the litigation before the court and Maryanne had the laboring oar with respect to discovery; (6) even after Joseph pays child support, he continues to retain approximately 85 percent of the parties' combined liquid assets.
Thus, the appellate court upheld the trial court's attorney fee award and also affirmed, using the analysis above the lower court's award of pendente lite appeal court attorney fees.
In re Marriage of Sorge (2012) 202 Cal.App.4th 626, 134 Cal.Rptr.3d 751 (1/5/2012) may be read here in PDF: Download In re Marriage of Sorge
So somewhere along the way, Joseph decided to expose the "corrupt" judicial system. He wrote and directed Divorce Corp (a movie). Oh yeah. It's a "documentary." On the film's website, it's touted as "[a] shocking exposé of the inner workings of the $50 billion a year U.S. family law industry, Divorce Corp shines a bright light on the appalling waste, and shameless collusive practices seen daily in family courts. It is a stunning documentary film that anyone considering marriage or divorce must see."
The Writer / Director? Joseph Sorge who is "a first time writer/director who became interested in the subject of divorce after experiencing firsthand the complexities of the family law system. Although his personal experience was less devastating than that of the film’s victims, he spent countless days in family court witnessing the callous, inefficient, and biased manner in which the court, and its associated professionals, treated average citizens. Before he began writing and filmmaking, Joseph earned a B.S. degree from M.I.T., and an M.D degree from Harvard, was a professor of molecular biology at The Scripps Research Institute, and founded a biotechnology company, Stratagene, which he took public and later sold to a large medical supply company." [From the film's "About Us" page].
Since it doesn't hurt to have a celebrity on board, Dr. Drew Pinsky is the narrator of the film. Both Sorge and Dr. Drew are named as authors of a book titled "Divorce Corp" apparently written by a seasoned ghost writer James Scurlock who has 26 titles to his name according to Amazon.com. The book is published by an LLC . . . that LLC shares an address with 25 other businesses, including Candor LLC--the film's production company at 3545 S Park Dr Jackson, WY 83002.
Why wait for the film to come to you? You can buy it in various formats in the web-based store on Divorce Corp's website. The book is available in print, e-book or audio book. For somewhere between $20 and $30, depending on the format, you can have your own copy of Joseph's sour grapes.
You'll notice that I am not touting this venture. There are no hyperlinks to Sorge's websites above.
Now back to reality . . .
Isn't this a little (or a lot) like what Will Shakespeare wrote about so long ago?
"Out, out, brief candle! Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more: it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing." Macbeth Quote (Act V, Scene V).