The characterization and division of a family home was the issue in In re Marriage of Mohler.
The parties were married for more than twelve years and had been separated for six years. The husband purchased a home before the parties were married. During the marriage, the mortgage was paid down with community property. For six years after the date of separation, the husband continued to live in the home and make mortgage payments on it.
During trial, the wife argued that the amount that the principal was reduced through mortgage payments after the date of separation should continue to be community property. If the court only included the amount of the pay down of the mortgage during the marriage, the community’s beneficial amount equaled 33.66 percent of the property. However, if the court used the wife’s formula, the community’s share increased to 64.9 percent.
The husband argued that any payments after the date of separation should not increase the community’s interest in the family home. Instead, the community interest should be limited to any Watt’s charges, and the community interest should be found as a percentage of the amount that the husband benefited by using a community asset.
The family law judge agreed with the wife and awarded the community a 64.9 percent interest in the home. The value to the community increased by more than $100,000. The husband appealed.
The Fourth Appellate District Court agreed with the husband. It stated that the community’s interest should be the amount that the community pays down the principal during the marriage. Any pay down of the mortgage after the date of separation should be determined as a Watt’s charge and not included in the percentage that the community owns.
If you need legal advice and are looking for a family law lawyer in Orange County to address a dissolution issue such as characterization of prperty or any other divorce matter such as legal separation, annulment, custody, child support, spousal support and/or property division, please consider Treviño Law in your divorce attorney search. We are located in Laguna Hills right off Lake Forest exit to both the 405 and 5 freeway.
Although the posting of this information can be considered free legal advice for a divorce in Orange County, it does not address other factors which may play a significant role in a particular dissolution. Circumstances in your divorce may alter the results in your dissolution.
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