In a recent case, Marriage of Mathews, husband and wife met in Japan and later married. Thereafter, they purchased a home together in California. As is very common these days, the parties opted to get a better interest rate on their mortgage. Thus, wife (because of her bad credit) had to quitclaim her interest in the house to her husband and he took the home in his name alone. This was done with wife believing that the home would be quitclaimed back to her and she would be added to the title with her husband. Well, of course, that was not done and years later the parties filed for dissolution, and as you can guess, the trial court awarded the home to husband as sole and separate property
. Wife appealed the trial court‣s ruling. The appellate court stated that because of the fiduciary duty (to deal in good faith with your spouse) owed to each spouse the husband had to prove that he did not exercise undue influence over wife‣s signing the quit claim deed. In other words, husband had to prove that wife knew the full extent of what she was doing. The appellate court agreed with the trial court and found that there was substantial evidence that wife signed the quitclaim deed with full knowledge of all the facts surrounding the signing of the deed and that there was no language barrier limiting her understanding. Thus, husband was able to keep the home as his sole and separate property.