Fossum Case

Fossum Case - In re Marriage of SANDRA and EDWARD FOSSUM...

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In re Marriage of SANDRA and EDWARD FOSSUM SANDRA FOSSUM, Respondent, v. EDWARD FOSSUM, Appellant. B214824 California Court of Appeal, Second District, First Division January 28, 2011 Appellant Edward Fossum and his ex-wife, respondent Sandra Fossum purchased a house in 1994. To obtain the best interest rate, the property was purchased in Edward’s [ 1 ] name alone, but later title was placed in both spouses’ names. In 1998, the parties agreed to enter into the same arrangement in order to obtain a good interest rate on a loan to refinance their home. Sandra quitclaimed her interest in the property to Edward, but he never restored Sandra’s name to title. Following trial in this action, the trial court determined the house was community property. Edward contends that ruling was in error. We affirm. Prior to the parties’ separation, Sandra took a cash advance on a credit card of $24, 000, but never disclosed the transaction to Edward. The trial court found Sandra had breached her statutory fiduciary duty to her spouse. (Fam. Code, § 721, subd. (b).) [ 2 ] Edward contends the trial court erred when it refused to award him attorney fees, which are mandated under section 1101, subdivision (g), for Sandra’s fiduciary violation. On this point, we conclude Edward is correct. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND Edward and Sandra Fossum were married in September 1994, after having lived together since 1992. They separated in November 2002. [ 3 ] The parties had no children together, although Sandra had a minor child from a prior relationship. Sandra filed a petition for dissolution in January 2003. Trial was conducted on various dates during February, March, June and October 2007. The primary dispute at trial, and on appeal, involves the characterization of real property located at 21557 Placerita Canyon Road, Santa Clarita (the “property, ” or “house”). Escrow on the property closed in October 1994. The down payment on the property was between $30, 000-$38, 000. The funds for the down payment came from the Fossums’s joint savings account. The first quitclaim deed Sandra’s testimony At trial, Sandra testified that the source of the down-payment funds was money she and Edward earned together working in Edward’s construction business during 1994, repairing homes after the Northridge earthquake. Sandra worked primarily as a “laborer, ” laying floors, repairing cracks, working on stone, and assisting Edward with design work and shower, kitchen and complete home remodels. She and Edward traveled together to and from work each day. The funds had been kept in a savings account that
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previously belonged to Edward. Sandra’s name was added to the account after the marriage. In October 1994, Sandra first saw the house and she and Edward decided to buy it.
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Fossum Case - In re Marriage of SANDRA and EDWARD FOSSUM...

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