Legal Question in Real Estate Law in California

where do I stand

My wife and I are heading for a divorce. The house we live in is in her fathers name. I found an email to my wife form her father saying that the house was wedding gift to us. do I have any claim on this house?

Asked on 4/03/06, 3:06 pm

5 Answers from Attorneys


Re: where do I stand

You stand to litigate the issue. Do not lay down and do nothing or try to do it yourself. Get represented now. Call me directly at 16192223504.

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Answered on 4/03/06, 9:06 pm
Bryan Whipple Bryan R. R. Whipple, Attorney at Law

Re: where do I stand

One of the first things you should do is check the status of record title as reflected by recorded instruments at the County Recorder's office.

If indeed the house is in your father-in-law's name, and was in his name since before your marriage, you will have an uphill battle to convince a court that you and your soon-to-be ex-wife are co-owners as a result of a gift.

First, record title is given a strong presumption of correctness. You would have to establish the gift by clear and convincing evidence.

Second, your wife is unlikely to take your side.

Finally, I do not know of any theory upon which a gift of real property can be proven other than by a gift deed, signed by the donor/grantor and delivered to the grantee(s). Perhaps your father-in-law actually executed such a gift deed and delivered it to your wife. That would be sufficient to convey the property, whether or not the deed was recorded, and whether or not the deed has been destroyed, given back, hidden, or whatever. (Destroying a deed does not un-do the conveyance, even if the parties intend it to! The ONLY way to un-do the effect of a delivered deed from X to Y is for Y to deed the property back to X).

If, however, the father-in-law intended to make a gift of the property, but never got around to executing and delivering a deed, I think you are going to be scraping the bottom of the legal-theories barrel for any way to establish a transfer of ownership from him to you, whether legal, equitable, by estoppel or whatever.

I would like to hear how this all plays out, since your situation touches on an area of specialization for me. If you have other facts to share, please feel free to contact me.

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Answered on 4/04/06, 3:04 am
Norman Gregory Fernandez, Esq. The Law Offices of Norman Gregory Fernandez & Associates

Re: where do I stand

Too many questions I need answered before I can render an opinion. Call me.

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Answered on 4/07/06, 1:06 am
Roy Hoffman Law Offices of Roy A. Hoffman

Re: where do I stand

You may have some claim to some portion of the home. You should seek the advice of a divorce attorney in your area.

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Answered on 4/03/06, 3:51 pm
Donald Holben Donald R. Holben & Associates, APC

Re: where do I stand

May need more, but that is a start. Make certain you retain a copy of that e-mail in your possession. Additional evidence, what is there?

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Answered on 4/03/06, 3:55 pm

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