Family Law

Family Law News Issue 3, 2019, Volume 41, No. 3

Leave Me A Loan

Justin O’Connell, CFLS

Justin M. O’Connell is a partner at Cavassa O’Connell, located in Monterey, California, where his practice includes family law and civil litigation. Mr. O’Connell is a Certified Family Law Specialist, served as a Commissioner on the California State Bar Family Law Advisory Commission from 2012 to 2015, and is currently the Legislation Chair of the California Lawyers Association Family Law Executive Committee (FLEXCOM). He has been the professor of Property Law at the Monterey College of Law since 2007, and a member of the Alternative Dispute Resolution Executive Committee for the Monterey County Superior Court since 2013.

When does a dissolution client really owe a money back to a family member? This question often arises when dividing the community estate in a dissolution or legal separation action. As examples:

  • A wife claims she borrowed money from her dad many times during marriage and claims repayment is a community liability in her dissolution case.
  • A husband and wife received the down payment for their house from husband’s grandma, and husband now claims repayment is a community liability in his dissolution case.
  • A wife testifies in her dissolution trial, "We agreed to pay back the money we borrowed from my parents if we ever could." (Now that a dissolution is occurring, apparently opportunity to repay is knocking.)

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