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Transmutation and property division in a high-net worth California divorce

On Behalf of | Jan 15, 2015 | Alimony, Division of Property, high net worth

Transmutation and property division in a high-net worth California divorce

In recent years, California law has seen the addition of a statute relating to fraud in transactions between marital partners. There have also been laws enacted that intensify, or heighten, the fiduciary duty between married people.

Previous posts have touched upon the subject of California as a community property state, and how that designation comes to bear upon division of assets in a divorce. In any marriage, there may be assets and/or property designated at community property or separate property. Going forward from that as a starting point, there is much to learn from the subject of transmutation, or the transfer of property ownership between spouses or partners. When the transaction is legally sanctioned as a gift or in a contract, this transfer, or transmutation agreement, may serve to reclassify separate property of one of the partners as community property to the other partner, or the reverse, transforming community property to separate property. This case is known, logically, as reverse transmutation.

Should spouses/partners pool or commingle their assets upon marriage, it can prove quite difficult later on, such as in case of a divorce, to determine whether an asset was originally separate property or marital property. And, if a legal transmutation did take place, does that transaction only change the name of the legal owner, or the classification of the transferred asset? What if one spouse claims a gift was made, or denies having made one, but has no proof to satisfy the court? These are just a few questions that exemplify what often prove to be tricky issues in terms of asset division in a divorce settlement.

This blog and its content are intended not as legal advice, but only for information and/or discussion purposes. Should you have questions or concerns about how California family law may apply to you, you may wish to consult a knowledgeable family law attorney. 

As Orange County’s premier family law specialists, the attorneys at Dinnebier & Demmerle can provide answers to your questions and concerns, clarify and establish your legal rights, and represent you in court. If you would like more information about transmutation, property and asset division in divorce, or any other aspect of California family law, please call to set up a consultation. We’re ready to move forward when you are. Just contact us in Tustin at 714-598-3714.