The case of Marriage of Carpenter, 2002 DJDAR 8219 was decided
July 22, 2002. The case involved the appeal of a trial court decision to order reimbursement of $415,000 to husband from the parties house on account of his separate property contribution. The parties entered into a premarital agreement proving in part that a home that husband was buying would upon marriage be deemed the parties community property. The parties did in fact marry and husband signed a quitclaim deed transferring title to husband and wife as community property.
Family Code, Section 2640 provides for a right of reimbursement for any separate property that is used to acquire or improve community property, unless there is a written waiver. Wife argued and the court agreed a waiver did not require the magic words “I waive reimbursement” The court stated there must be a writing which has the effect of a waiver. The premarital agreement language was deemed insufficient.
Wife also argued that the quitclaim deed, the premarital agreement and the mortgage payments show that the property was transmuted from separate property to community. The Court of Appeal stated that those documents did not affect husband’s right of reimbursement where separate property contribution is traced to its source.