In California when a person inherits a house and property in 1983, Gets married in 1993, and is not divorced yet in 2013, but has been separated from spouse for 9 years , is that spouse entitled to a portion of that real property, Especially if during that marrage that person was about to lose that real property for non-paymnt of taxes and spouse worked to help to pay off loan that paid those taxes. Is that spouse entitled to a portion of that real property?
And if that person whose name is on the property was trying to get a reverse mortgage and cannot get it without the signature of spouse either on a final divorce document or on the reverse mortgage,. Is that spouse entitled to anything? Especially if that spouse was the victim of spousal abuse?
2 Answers from Attorneys
What was separate property can become community porperty with comingling and devotion of community assets to its improvement or protection. The question you asked is very fact specific, and this type of dispute is a large part of what keeps family law attorneys busy. You need to seek a family law attorney.
I agree with Mr. Christian. Although a property can start out with a separate property characterization - in this particular case through inheritance - the community can acquire a "pro tanto" interest in the property to the extent that community property funds are used to pay off an encumbrance, like a loan secured by a deed of trust. Those community property funds can be anything from commingled money in joint accounts to earnings during the marriage, but prior to separation.
Analyzing those issues and arguing them in court are what family law attorneys do every day.
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