Marriage obligations, Property Rights in Marriage under California Family Code


Property rights, marriage obligations under California State Statutes

720.  Husband and wife contract toward each other obligations of

mutual respect, fidelity, and support.

721.  (a) Subject to subdivision (b), either husband or wife may

enter into any transaction with the other, or with any other person,

respecting property, which either might if unmarried.

   (b) Except as provided in Sections 143, 144, 146, 16040, and 16047

of the Probate Code, in transactions between themselves, a husband

and wife are subject to the general rules governing fiduciary

relationships which control the actions of persons occupying

confidential relations with each other. This confidential

relationship imposes a duty of the highest good faith and fair

dealing on each spouse, and neither shall take any unfair advantage

of the other. This confidential relationship is a fiduciary

relationship subject to the same rights and duties of nonmarital

business partners, as provided in Sections 16403, 16404, and 16503 of

the Corporations Code, including, but not limited to, the following:

   (1) Providing each spouse access at all times to any books kept

regarding a transaction for the purposes of inspection and copying.

   (2) Rendering upon request, true and full information of all

things affecting any transaction which concerns the community

property. Nothing in this section is intended to impose a duty for

either spouse to keep detailed books and records of community

property transactions.

   (3) Accounting to the spouse, and holding as a trustee, any

benefit or profit derived from any transaction by one spouse without

the consent of the other spouse which concerns the community



770.  (a) Separate property of a married person includes all of the


   (1) All property owned by the person before marriage.

   (2) All property acquired by the person after marriage by gift,

bequest, devise, or descent.

   (3) The rents, issues, and profits of the property described in

this section.

   (b) A married person may, without the consent of the person’s

spouse, convey the person’s separate property.

771.  (a) The earnings and accumulations of a spouse and the minor

children living with, or in the custody of, the spouse, while living

separate and apart from the other spouse, are the separate property

of the spouse.

   (b) Notwithstanding subdivision (a), the earnings and

accumulations of an unemancipated minor child related to a contract

of a type described in Section 6750 shall remain the sole legal

property of the minor child.

772.  After entry of a judgment of legal separation of the parties,

the earnings or accumulations of each party are the separate property

of the party acquiring the earnings or accumulations.


760.  Except as otherwise provided by statute, all property, real or

personal, wherever situated, acquired by a married person during the

marriage while domiciled in this state is community property.

761.  (a) Unless the trust instrument or the instrument of transfer

expressly provides otherwise, community property that is transferred

in trust remains community property during the marriage, regardless

of the identity of the trustee, if the trust, originally or as

amended before or after the transfer, provides that the trust is

revocable as to that property during the marriage and the power, if

any, to modify the trust as to the rights and interests in that

property during the marriage may be exercised only with the joinder

or consent of both spouses.

   (b) Unless the trust instrument expressly provides otherwise, a

power to revoke as to community property may be exercised by either

spouse acting alone. Community property, including any income or

appreciation, that is distributed or withdrawn from a trust by

revocation, power of withdrawal, or otherwise, remains community

property unless there is a valid transmutation of the property at the

time of distribution or withdrawal.

   (c) The trustee may convey and otherwise manage and control the

trust property in accordance with the provisions of the trust without

the joinder or consent of the husband or wife unless the trust

expressly requires the joinder or consent of one or both spouses.

   (d) This section applies to a transfer made before, on, or after

July 1, 1987.

   (e) Nothing in this section affects the community character of

property that is transferred before, on, or after July 1, 1987, in

any manner or to a trust other than described in this section.


850.  Subject to Sections 851 to 853, inclusive, married persons may

by agreement or transfer, with or without consideration, do any of

the following:

   (a) Transmute community property to separate property of either


   (b) Transmute separate property of either spouse to community


   (c) Transmute separate property of one spouse to separate property

of the other spouse.

851.  A transmutation is subject to the laws governing fraudulent


852.  (a) A transmutation of real or personal property is not valid

unless made in writing by an express declaration that is made, joined

in, consented to, or accepted by the spouse whose interest in the

property is adversely affected.

   (b) A transmutation of real property is not effective as to third

parties without notice thereof unless recorded.

   (c) This section does not apply to a gift between the spouses of

clothing, wearing apparel, jewelry, or other tangible articles of a

personal nature that is used solely or principally by the spouse to

whom the gift is made and that is not substantial in value taking

into account the circumstances of the marriage.

   (d) Nothing in this section affects the law governing

characterization of property in which separate property and community

property are commingled or otherwise combined.

   (e) This section does not apply to or affect a transmutation of

property made before January 1, 1985, and the law that would

otherwise be applicable to that transmutation shall continue to


853.  (a) A statement in a will of the character of property is not

admissible as evidence of a transmutation of the property in a

proceeding commenced before the death of the person who made the


   (b) A waiver of a right to a joint and survivor annuity or

survivor’s benefits under the federal Retirement Equity Act of 1984

(Public Law 98-397) is not a transmutation of the community property

rights of the person executing the waiver.

   (c) A written joinder or written consent to a nonprobate transfer

of community property on death that satisfies Section 852 is a

transmutation and is governed by the law applicable to transmutations

and not by Chapter 2 (commencing with Section 5010) of Part 1 of Division 5 of the Probate Code

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