February 8th, 2012
(February 8, 2012) Mr. Hopstone’s client purchased a house in Thousand Oaks while unmarried. A few years later she wed, and she and her husband lived in the house during their marriage. The couple was retired and twice refinanced the mortgage securing the property.
When they later divorced, the trial court confirmed the house to be her sole and separate property. Her husband appealed, claiming the house to be community property because of the refinances that took place during the marriage. The Court of Appeal affirmed that a refinance loan secured exclusively by one spouse’s separate real property remains that party’s separate debt. The evidence at trial showed that in deciding to grant the refinance, the broker had relied exclusively on the equity in the real property as security for the loan. The house was awarded to Mr. Hopstone’s client as her sole and separate property.