Begian and Sarajian: Transmutation, Community Property

In re Marriage of Begian & Sarajian (Transmutation; Community Property)

California Court of Appeal, Second District

Published Opinion, (2018) 31 Cal.App.5th 506

File Date:
Filed 12-20-2018

In the case In re Marriage of Begian & Sarajian (Transmutation; Community Property), during marriage, the wife (Ida) received a partial interest in real property on Avonoak Terrace in Glendale from her mother (Rose). The mother eventually transferred the entire property to herself, Ida, and Ida’s husband(Richard) as joint tenants. A community interest was created in the property between Ida and Richard by the grant deed. Five years later, in 2006, the three parties signed a “Trust Transfer Deed” transferring the property to Ida for no consideration. The deed stated: “FOR NO CONSIDERATION, GRANTORS ROSE SARAJIAN, a Widow, and IDA SARAJIAN and RICHARD BEGIAN, Wife and Husband, all as joint tenants, hereby GRANT to IDA SARAJIAN, the following real property [legal description of Avonoak].”

Ida and Richard separated and a divorce proceeding was filed in 2016. Ida claimed Avonoak was her separate property because of the Trust Transfer Deed signed by Richard. The family court agreed but the appellate court reversed, holding that the deed did not qualify as a transmutation of Richard’s community property interest. Family Code section 852 requires an express written declaration to change the character of community property to separate property. The Trust Transfer Deed was ambiguous and therefore did not satisfy the strict requirements for a transmutation.

Begian & Sarajian 1-18-19

The case listed here was not handled by Walzer Melcher unless the description states that Walzer Melcher appeared as counsel.