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Set-aside an interspousal quitclaim deed in California

The set-aside of an interspousal quitclaim deed in California is the topic of this blog post.   Specifically, requesting that an interspousal quitclaim deed be set-aside due to the presumption of undue influence under California Family Code Section 721(b).   A party may also request that any other type of deed in California be set-aside due to the presumption of undue influence.

Family Code Section 721(b) states that the confidential relationship between spouses imposes a duty of the highest good faith and fair dealing on each spouse, and neither may take any unfair advantage of the other.

A few years ago I was retained to research and prepare a legal memorandum for a case in which the husband had signed an interspousal quitclaim deed transferring title to real property into the name of his wife.  The results of the legal research were that the husband had a very strong argument for a set-aside of the interspousal quitclaim deed on the grounds that the presumption of undue influence applied in his case.   The results of that research are briefly discussed in this blog post.

The presumption of undue influence arises whenever any interspousal transaction advantages one spouse over the other.

In a case decided several years ago by a California Court of Appeal , the Court of Appeal stated that the trial court properly placed on the former wife the burden of proving that a transfer of the former husband’s separate ownership of certain property to joint tenancy was not the product of undue influence; the presumption of undue influence under Family Code § 721 in interspousal transactions that advantage one spouse to the disadvantage of the other prevails over the presumption under Family Code § 2581 that property acquired as joint tenancy by a married couple was community property.

And in another decided by a California Court of Appeal, the Court of Appeal stated that, in a divorce proceeding, where the common law presumption of title, and the community property presumption of undue influence conflict, the presumption of undue influence prevails.  In that case the Court also stated that when there is a presumption of undue influence, the burden is on the advantaged spouse to prove the transaction was freely and voluntarily entered into with full knowledge of all relevant facts and a complete understanding of the effect of the transfer.  If the  advantaged spouse does not meet their burden of proof then the disadvantaged spouse is entitled to a set-aside of the transaction, effectively defeating the record title.

Clearly, anyone involved in a divorce in California, who previously signed an interspousal quitclaim deed transferring ownership of real property, or any other document which transferred ownership of any other property, to their spouse needs to consider whether the presumption of undue influence is appropriate in their case.  If so they should request that the Court set aside the interspousal transfer.

Attorneys or parties in California who would like to view a portion of a sample memorandum of points and authorities in support of a motion or request for order to set-aside an interspousal quitclaim deed based on the presumption of undue influence can see below.

 

Attorneys or parties in California that would like more information on a California divorce litigation document package containing over 45 sample documents including a sample memorandum of points and authorities in support of a motion or request for order to set-aside an interspousal quitclaim deed based on the presumption of undue influence can use the link shown below.

California divorce litigation document package

The author of this blog post, Stan Burman, is a freelance paralegal who has worked in California and Federal litigation since 1995.

If you enjoy this blog post, tell others about it. They can subscribe to the author’s weekly California legal newsletter by visiting the following link: http://www.legaldocspro.net/newsletter.htm

Copyright 2013 Stan Burman. All rights reserved.

DISCLAIMER:

Please note that the author of this blog post, Stan Burman is NOT an attorney and as such is unable to provide any specific legal advice. The author is NOT engaged in providing any legal, financial, or other professional services, and any information contained in this blog post is NOT intended to constitute legal advice.

These materials and information contained in this blog post have been prepared by Stan Burman for informational purposes only and are not legal advice. Transmission of the information contained in this blog post is not intended to create, and receipt does not constitute, any business relationship between the author and any readers. Readers should not act upon this information without seeking professional counsel.

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