Many problems arise in the course of a dissolution of marriage from the characterization of gifts from parents and family members. Gifts to you only are not community property, but all property owned by marital partners is presumed to be community property. So if you are about to purchase a house, for example, and your parents or family members are thinking of giving you money for a down payment on your house, it is important to have them provide you with a letter at or before they send you the money, stating that this is a gift to you only, and not to the two of you jointly. A letter sent after the fact would not be credible and would not defeat the presumption of “community property.”  If your parents furnish you a letter in advance, this would strongly enhance your chance of confirming it as a separate property down payment and defeat the other party’s argument if he/she claims that the “gift” was to both of you or it was commingled and became community property, etc. The separate property portion of the payment towards the real estate will be reimbursed to you, if the house is sold or divided up with your spouse upon divorce, and you have added your spouse’s name on the Deed. You will also get the appreciation part for the separate property portion of the payment towards the real estate, if the property is under your name only when it is sold or divide with your spouse.  

We, at The Zhou Law Group, APC know that it is important to keep informed with these special types of issues and have the experience to protect your rights.  If you have any questions regarding Family Law, please feel to arrange a free 1/2 hour initial consultation with our Family Law Attorneys by calling (408)289-9688, or contacting us online at

CategoryDivorce, English