Thank you for allowing me to answer your interesting question. You
will note our disclaimer that we do not provide legal advice in this
forum. What I am sharing with you is a matter of published law and is
not intended to be take as legal advice or in lieu of legal advice.
For the most reliable advice you should consult an attorney. In the
meantime, here goes:
The state of California is what is commonly considered a ?community
property? state (and an ?equitable distribution? state). Separate
property, or property acquired prior to the marriage remains separate
property as long as the source of the funds used to pay for, improve,
or maintain the property does not come from commingled assets. This
act, that effectively entitles the contributing spouse to half, or a
portion of the property, is known as ?transmutation?. When a property
is transmuted, either by adding a spouse?s name to the deed or by
using the spouse?s contributed or commingled funds toward the interest
of the property, it is often extremely difficult to regain its
"separate property" status for the purposes of equitable distribution.
It is of course almost impossible to predict what a court will decide
in a given case. In my opinion, what I (and presumably a lawyers too)
can tell you however is that your spouse has a definite advantage and
frankly a very good argument under the law to an interest in what is
now clearly ?marital property? by virtue of her contribution. I will
say though that a judge may likely find that one year?s worth of
contribution does not equal half of a 50/50 claim and may find that
she is only entitled to a portion of the property?s value.
CALIFORNIA FAMILY CODE: 2650
Since we can?t predict the future the best answer to your question
then is an educated guess: Based on California law I?d have to guess a
court may well find that the spouse?s claim is valid, but probably not
equal to half, assuming you have records to verify the contribution
you made prior to the marriage vs. the contributions the two of you
made together thereafter. Here you will find some case law and related
stories about how some plaintiffs and defendants, through their
failure to trace commingled accounts, failed to established ownership
and therefore equitable distribution of disputed property and they
lost their cases.
?TRANSMUTED AND COMMINGLED PROPERTY TRACING A SEPARATE PROPERTY INTEREST?
I recommend you consult an attorney and find out if your spouses
contributions are traceable and if you can establish her interest in
the property in question.
I hope you find that my answer exceeds your expectations. If you have
any questions about my research please post a clarification request
prior to rating the answer. Otherwise I welcome your rating and your
final comments and I look forward to working with you again in the
near future. Thank you for bringing your question to us.
Tutuzdad-ga ? Google Answers Researcher
CALIFORNIA FAMILY CODE
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