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Cases of Interest: Transmutation of Property
National Legal Research Group, Inc.

ALASKA: Lundquist v. Lundquist, 923 P.2d 42 (Alaska 1996).
The husband's subjective intent that the parties would share his inheritance did not justify classifying it as marital property.
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FLORIDA: Farrior v. Farrior, 736 So. 2d 1177 (Fla 1999).
The wife did not convert her separate assets into marital property merely by pledging them as collateral for the couple's joint debt.
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FLORIDA: Farrior v. Farrior, 712 So. 2d 1154 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 1998).
Stock which the wife inherited from her family and retained in her name did not become a marital asset either through general conversations between the husband and wife, through the parties' allegedly equal access to the stock, through the parties' use of the stock to enrich their standard of living, or through the pledge of the stock as collateral for marital debts.
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ILLINOIS: In re Marriage of Smith, ___ Ill. App. 3d ___, 638 N.E.2d 384 (1994).
The husband's self-serving testimony that he transferred his premarital stock into joint title only for convenience and not to make a gift did not overcome the presumption that property held in joint tenancy is marital property.
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INDIANA: Wallace v. Wallace, 714 N.E.2d 774 (Ind. Ct App. 1999).
In an "all property" state decision, the exclusion of stocks gifted to and solely inherited by the husband from consideration as marital assets was an abuse of discretion.
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MICHIGAN: Dart v. Dart, 459 Mich. 878, 597 N.W.2d 82 (1999).
In a "dual property" state, property received as an inheritance and kept separate from marital property is separate property and is not subject to distribution.
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MINNESOTA: Pfleiderer v. Pfleiderer, 591 N.W.2d 729 (Minn. Ct. App. 1999).
When, for estate planning purposes, a married couple converts title to a marital asset held in joint tenancy to single ownership, the property remains marital and is not converted into nonmarital status.
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NEW JERSEY: Pascale v. Pascale, 274 N.J. Super. 429, 644 A.2d 638 (App. Div. 1994).
By selling her premarital stock and using the proceeds for a down payment on the jointly titled marital home, the wife made an interspousal gift and did not retain a separate ownership interest in the proceeds from the sale of the stock.
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NEW YORK: Clark v. Clark, ___ A.D.2d ___, 683 N.Y.S.2d 255 (1999).
Tangible personal property that the husband inherited from his mother was converted from his separate property to marital property when the husband left it to the wife to choose which of the personal property in his mother's home, if any, would be selected for the parties' marital residence.
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NEW YORK: Spencer v. Spencer, ___ A.D.2d ___, 646 N.Y.S.2d 674 (1996).
Funds inherited by the husband were his separate property, but the increase in value of the funds due to his management of the investment was marital property.
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NEW YORK: McGarrity v. McGarrity, ___ A.D.2d ___, 622 N.Y.S.2d 521 (1995).
Funds inherited by the husband remained his separate property even though he deposited them into the parties' joint accounts, where he made the deposits for the sake of convenience and not with donative intent.
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NORTH CAROLINA: Davis v. Sineath, ___ N.C. App. ___, 498 S.E.2d 629 (1998).
A residence titled as a tenancy by the entirety was marital property, but the use of the husband's separate funds to purchase and renovate the property justified awarding it to him, especially considering the very short duration of the parties' marriage.
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PENNSYLVANIA: Oaks v. Cooper, ___ Pa. ___, 638 A.2d 208 (1994).
Husband did not transmute separate funds into marital property by depositing the separate funds after separation into accounts which contained marital funds.
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SOUTH CAROLINA: Murray v. Murray, ___ S.C. ___, 439 S.E.2d 312 (Ct. App. 1993).
Home which husband paid for before the marriage was not transmuted to marital property merely because the parties lived there for the duration of their 17-year marriage.
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UTAH: Bingham v. Bingham, 872 P.2d 1065 (Utah Ct. App. 1994).
Separate funds which the husband loaned to the party's dairy business should not be included in calculating the dairy's value.
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VIRGINIA: Utsch v. Utsch, 28 Va. App. 450, 565 S.E.2d 345 (2002).
A deed of gift conveying separate property into joint names is not conclusive proof of a gift to the marital estate. The parol evidence rule does not bar the admission of evidence suggesting a lack of true donative intent. But the form of the deed is some relevant evidence that such donative intent existed.
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VIRGINIA: von Robb v. von Robb, 26 Va. App. 239, 494 S.E.2d 156 (1997).
The parties' jointly titled residence was marital property in its entirety because the husband's original separate property interest in the home was not retraceable in view of intervening loan transactions.
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VIRGINIA: Rahbaran v. Rahbaran, 26 Va. App. 195, 494 S.E.2d 135 (1997).
The husband failed to trace any portion of his existing business interests back to separate property. This pair of Virginia cases sheds light on the process of tracing transmuted or commingled property back to a separate property interest.
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VIRGINIA: Theismann v. Theismann, 22 Va. App. 557, 471 S.E.2d 809 (1996).
The trial court was not plainly wrong in concluding that the husband intended to make a gift when he placed assets in joint title with the wife, and the decision to make a relatively equal distribution of the gifted property did not constitute an abuse of discretion despite the short duration of the marriage.
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VIRGINIA: Lightburn v. Lightburn, 22 Va. App. 612, 472 S.E.2d 281 (1996).
The short duration of the parties' marriage did not justify awarding the wife one-half of the value of real property that the husband conveyed into a tenancy by the entirety two months before the parties' separation.
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VIRGINIA: Gottlieb v. Gottlieb, ___ Va. App. ___, 448 S.E.2d 666 (1994).
Evidence supported the trial court's finding that the husband's business interests were transmuted to marital property by the wife's monetary and nonmonetary contributions during the marriage.
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WISCONSIN: Spindler v. Spindler, ___ Wis. 2d ___, 558 N.W.2d 645 (Ct. App. 1996).
A cottage that was a gift to the husband during the parties' marriage should not have been classified as marital property, despite the use of marital funds for the maintenance and upkeep of the property.
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