Wednesday, May 8, 2019
Court of Appeal:
By a MetNews Staff Writer
The Court of Appeal for this district yesterday affirmed the portion of the judgment in a dissolution of marriage case awarding the husband possession of the wedding ring he gave his wife, holding that it was not a gift, as she claims, because it was purchased with community funds and there is no writing that recites a transmutation.
Presiding Justice Nora Manella of Div. Four wrote the opinion, which was not certified for publication. It affirms in part and reverses in part a judgment by Los Angeles Superior Court Commissioner Rocky Crabb.
The husband, Dale Segura Jr., testified that he purchased the ring several years back, after the marriage, for $7,000 and did not know the present value, but related that his wife, Sarah Shepard, told him she had it appraised for $4,000. Crabb accepted the $4,000 figure, awarded the ring to Segura, and credited Shepard with $2,000.
“Here, it is undisputed that Dale purchased the ring with community funds during the parties’ marriage, and that he was domiciled in this state. Thus, substantial evidence supported the trial court’s finding that the parties acquired the ring as community property….
“As to transmutation of the ring, while Sarah contends the ring was worth only $1,500 and was not the parties’ ‘most expensive asset,’ she does not dispute the trial court’s finding that the marital standard of living was ‘less than middle-class....’ Under these circumstances, the record supports the court’s finding that the ring was substantial in value and that no transmutation occurred absent a written declaration to that effect….Because the record contains no such written declaration, substantial evidence supported the trial court’s finding that the ring constituted community property.”
Manella agreed with Shepard that Crabb miscalculated her annual gross income, failing to factor in business expenses, remanding the case for a new determination of spousal and child support.
The case is Marriage of Segura, B287012.
Shepard represented herself and Brian D. Mitchell of the Claremont firm of Kendall Gkikas & Mitchell acted for Segura.
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