THURMAN'S DIVORCE TIPS -
FAMILY CODE SECTION 770: AVOIDING TRANSMUTATIONS
Many people have heard that the fact of marriage doesn't impair their separate property rights in what they owned prior to marriage, or possibly acquired during marriage with their separate property funds, but for the most part it just isn't true. Probably the strongest protections favor gifts and inheritances received from third parties during marriage, but even then all too often the recipient spouse commingles such funds with community earnings and then finds they've got expensive proof burdens to trace these funds possibly over periods spanning years, or numbers of different joint deposit accounts, in order to recover them.
The most common two situations where a spouse gains an interest in the separate property of the other is (1) with family residences with mortgages that are paid down with community funds during the marriage and (2) where real estate is refinanced and the other spouse is added to the record title, possibly simply to protect them as "joint tenants" in the event of death. I've written extensively about these subjects throughout this site - try the search engine at upper right to learn more.
Read our Date of Separation Blogs For Much More Information!
CALIFORNIA FAMILY CODE
CHARACTERIZATION OF MARITAL PROPERTY
WHAT IS SEPARATE PROPERTY
(a) Separate property of a married person includes all of the following:
(1) All property owned by the person before marriage.
(2) All property acquired by the person after marriage by gift, bequest, devise, or descent.
(3) The rents, issues, and profits of the property described in this section.
(b) A married person may, without the consent of the person's spouse, convey the person's separate property.