Raney v. Cerkueira: Community Property; Joint Tenancy; Automatic Temporary Restraining Orders

Raney v. Cerkueira (Community Property; Joint Tenancy; Automatic Temporary Restraining Orders)

California Court of Appeal, First District

Published Opinion, (2019) 36 Cal.App.5th 311

File Date:
Filed 6-14-2019

In the case Raney v. Cerkueira (Community Property; Joint Tenancy; Automatic Temporary Restraining Orders), during the marriage, husband and wife acquired a home in joint tenancy. During their divorce action, the wife signed and recorded a deed stating that the joint tenancy had been severed so that each spouse held a one-half interest in the property as tenants in common. The wife’s attorney emailed the husband’s attorney two months later that the wife was attempting to transfer her half interest in the house to her trust “thereby terminating” the joint tenancy.

The trustee of the wife’s trust then filed an action requesting a partition of the property, attaching a copy of the deed in which the wife severed the joint tenancy. The husband was personally served with the complaint. The husband objected, stating that the wife was subject to the automatic temporary restraining orders (ATROs) in the dissolution action per Family Code section 2040. The wife died before the divorce case or the partition action was resolved.

The family court ruled that the personal representative of the wife’s estate owned one-half of the property. The appellate court affirmed, holding that a spouse wanting to sever a joint tenancy while a divorce action is pending must satisfy, in any order, the notice requirement in the ATROs and the requirements of Civil Code section 683.2, subdivision (c), which provides that a written instrument severing a joint tenancy is not effective to eliminate the other tenant’s right of survivorship unless it is recorded before the severing tenant’s death. The court held that sufficient notice was given to the husband of the severance.

Raney v. Cerkueira 6-14-19

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