Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Dawn, I Want You Back . . .

In re Marriage of Valli, No. S193990 (Cal. May 15, 2014)

Frankie Valli and his ex-wife are in a very long-running dispute about whether a life insurance policy that Frankie bought during the marriage is community or separate property. In ruling for the ex-Mrs. Mr. Valli,* the Cal. Supremes hold that the Family Code’s rules about the characterization of community property trump Evidence Code § 662’s presumption that a title holder is the actual owner of property. Justice Chin’s concurrence elaborates on the issue, explaining key differences between California’s Spanish-based family law and that in common law jurisdictions.

*Correction: Because Mrs. Valli was the beneficiary of the policy, the fact that the Family Codes characterization rules trump the Evidence Codes title presumption makes Frankie the winner in the appeal. Thanks to the anonymous commenter for the tip.


  1. Think you got the description wrong. The court didn't hold for the ex Mrs. Valli. The court held for Mr. Valli.