Court of Appeal holds that spouse’s shares in corporation are separate property because acquired by gift

In a marital dissolution action, the husband argued that the wife’s shares in a corporation she co-owned with her father were community property because the wife, GMSR’s client, acquired them during marriage and a corporate document stated that she had provided half of the consideration for their issuance.  The trial court found that the shares were in fact a gift from the wife’s father and that in any case the corporation simply continued a separate-property business that had predated the marriage.  The Court of Appeal affirmed.  Reaching only the gift finding, it agreed with GMSR’s arguments that ample evidence supported the trial court’s findings.  This included the father’s testimony that he intended to make a gift and evidence that, notwithstanding the corporate document, he was the sole source of the assets given in consideration for the issuance of the corporation’s stock.  The court rejected the husband’s argument that a later-created lending relationship between wife and the corporation created a presumption that she had acquired the shares through the use of the community’s credit.

In re Marriage of Wendelburg (Dec. 20, 2017, B270355) 2017 WL 6505343 [Second District, Division 7] [nonpublished]

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