San Diego Law Review

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This Article examines the use of transmutation as a means of changing community or separate property into another form of property by means of a contract between the spouses or by a gift made to one another. The author explains that there are usually no formalities required for transmutation under these circumstances and that such transactions are binding on third parties, especially creditors. Exploring the issues of creditor's rights, the author argues that there is uncertainty in California law as to liability for debts of various marital properties, even in the absence of transmutation. He suggests that if transmutation is to bind creditors, it is desirable to change the statutes to require formalities, such as writing and recordation. The author further suggests that, in the area of a transfer of community property to that of joint tenancy, the enactment of legislation recognizing a hybrid community-property joint-tenancy form of ownership for married persons would most likely reduce litigation in this area.

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