During your marriage you and your spouse can change the characterization of separate property to community property and community property to separate property. When changing the character of your property, it is important that your attorney knows the requirements under Family Code Section 850 and 852 to ensure the validity of the change in characterization. An experienced Orange County family law attorneys at Wallin & Klarich will provide you with the proper legal advice and counseling to change the characterization of your property.
During your marriage, when you and your spouse change the characterization of your property, you are transmuting the property. The legal term for this action is transmutation. California Family Code Section 850 permits a husband and wife to enter into transmutation agreements. Under Section 850, you and your spouse must be married at the time of the transaction or agreement. Further, the agreement or transaction must be between you and your spouse; a third party cannot be a part of the transaction or agreement. Lastly, in the transaction or agreement there must be a change in the character or ownership of the property. If the agreement simply confirms that character of the property as separate or community, but does not actually change the character of the property from separate to community or community to separate, then you do not have a transmutation.
If you have met the requirements under section 850, you and your spouse need to make sure that the transmutation is valid and meets the requirements under Family Code Section 852. Under section 852, with the exception of gifts of clothing, jewelry and other tangible items of a personal nature that are not substantial in value between you and your spouse, a transmutation of property on or after January 01, 1985 will only be valid if the transmutation was made in writing by an express declaration that is made, consented, or accepted by the spouse adversely affected by the transmutation. An “express declaration” is a writing that contains language which expressly states a change in the characterization or ownership of the property.
If you and your spouse want to change the characterization or ownership of any property each of you may own, you want to make sure you follow the appropriate codes and meet all the requirements. Wallin & Klarich has experienced Orange County family law attorneys who can help you with transmutations and any other property issues. If you have questions or concerns about your case, call us today at 888-749-7428 to speak with an attorney.