Community Property and Transmutations2023-12-13T10:40:15+00:00

Marriage is complicated. Unfortunately, so is divorce and some divorces require extensive knowledge of the intricacies of complex divorce law. If you are facing complicated property and asset divisions, you need to work with an experienced professional from the beginning. At The Dorie A. Rogers, APC, we understand all of the complicated nuances of California property law with respect to dividing marital assets.

California’s Intricate Property Laws

Everyone has heard of California’s famous “community property” laws. But what does that term really mean? Under California law, community property is any asset or debt acquired during the marriage. This includes almost anything a couple obtains during their marriage with a few notable exceptions like gifts, inheritances, and property and assets each individual brought into the marriage.

In some cases, the couple may inadvertently or intentionally transform property or assets owned communally into property owned separately. The couple may also transform property owned separately into community property. Finally, the separate property of one spouse may become the separate property of the other spouse. All of these transformations of property are called transmutations and they are governed by California Family Code §§850-53.

A transmutation often happens unintentionally

For example, a married couple buys a home, with both of their names on the deed. Clearly, the house is intended to be community property, with both partners as owners. But maybe a few years later the couple decides to refinance but one of them has bad credit. To avoid this obstacle, the couple may decide to get a new mortgage with only one of them as a borrower, requiring the person with bad credit to sign their interest in the home to their partner with a quit claim deed. A transmutation has just occurred, and community property home became the property of one person.

Under California law, transmutations aren’t quite so easy when divorce is involved. The law assumes that any transfer of assets between married people happens with undue influence. As a result, the couple must expressly state in writing that they are giving up a property right and that they consent to the transmutation. If this doesn’t happen, a divorce court will generally assume that the parties didn’t intend to transform property from community to separate, and vice versa. This can be a complicated area of the law.

Experienced Representation for Complex Divorces

At The Dorie A. Rogers, APC, you can be sure that our Orange County divorce lawyers are knowledgeable and experienced at handling complex divorces and complicated marital asset and property divisions, including transmutations. Attorney Dorie Rogers is a well-respected Orange County divorce attorney with more than 30 years of experience in complex asset division. Ms. Rogers is a board-certified family law specialist and can assist with the equitable division of assets, including:

  • Real estate, vacation homes, and other real and personal property
  • Stock options, retirement accounts, and investments
  • Hidden assets
  • Valuable furniture, art, jewelry, and collections
  • Businesses
  • Inheritance

Schedule a Consultation

Call us today at 714-740-1160 to speak with an experienced Orange County complex divorce attorney, or send us an email.

Reviews Quotes
“Dorie is a very powerful attorney and a great asset to have on your side in any family legal matter. She is extremely bright and insightful, and I got everything I asked for in my lawsuit.”
Brit B.
“I would strongly recommend Ms. Dorie Rogers for any legal needs. During my Divorce proceedings, Dorie’s professionalism, expertise in Divorce Law and legal skill helped bring my case to a close in both a timely and mutually agreeable manner.

Additionally, Dorie took the time to understand me and my background to better represent me in my case. She showed a level of caring and concern that helped me through a very difficult time. She is an outstanding lawyer and wonderful person.”

Alan M. Greenberg
“Second to none – I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Dorie to anyone. She was my attorney for my divorce and custody case. She will do everything it takes to get the job done and all with a smile on her face. Her knowledge and expertise will assist anyone in a family law situation get the results they want.”
Todd M.


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