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This really depends on the manner in which the home was jointly titled.
While the interpretation offered shows some insightful thinking, it can only be a hypothetical argument until and unless it is applied to the particular manner in which the property in question was titled.
If it was a "Joint Tenancy" form of ownership, for instance, the deceased person's interest simply disappears while the other owner's property remains. There is no change in ownership in any legal sense, so if it was personal property before marriage, then it remains so. If it was acquired during marriage, then, unless it is an inheritance, it is arguably community property, subject to division during divorce.
While in California, this tenancy of the entirety title does not exist, other methods create the same unchanged ownership. Joint Tenancy is one method in California. Another is to have the property in a trust, where it maybe controlled by one instead of two people after death, but it is legally an unchanged ownership interest.
What this means practically is that if something was premarital property and not part of the community property created during a marriage, then it is not community property that can be divided at divorce. It is the same as any property owned before marriage -- not divisible as part of a divorce..
So before wasting time on a legal theory that attributes value in the property to something arising during marriage, it is a good idea to first check how the property is legally titled.
You can read more about the different forms of titling in California at this site http://www.jancummins.com/Forms_of_Title_in_California.pdf.
Unless it is not titled in a way that essentially eliminates one of the ownership interest at death without changing the title, then the argument suggested will be very difficult to pursue.
I will check out the reference you forwarded. Thank you. However, the other part of inquiry deals with the business partnership not just the mobile home. One of the mediators said that a wife has an interest in any business activitiy of the husband prior to separation. In addition I paid some of the business costs associated with the business partnership using community property dollars from our joint account. It is complicated as your response suggests and may not be worth pursuing but I am asking about the law associated with the support given to the business partnership using community funds following separation. The value is substantial potentially for determining offsets and is very important to me to look at since I have been very supportive financially in the marriage and following separation. We used community property funds to support the investment following separation. He has separate property funds but did not use for this business partnership.
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