What on Earth is a Transmutation???

Under California Divorce law, a valid transmutation is a written agreement to change the ownership characterization of a property.  In order to comply with the law, said agreement must satisfy the requirements of Family Code Section 852.  

                      The above is all fine and dandy 
                 but what on earth does it mean?

What it means is this; California Divorce Law takes changing property ownership during a marriage very seriously.  The legislature (the people who create the code sections we follow) does not want anyone to slip into a transmutation.  Transparency is the name of the game. Trickery does not belong here!

Per California Divorce Law, if you or spouse are thinking about changing ownership rights to an asset, i.e. a piece of real property, the agreement MUST be memorialized in a writing and said writing  needs to be unambiguous. 

Two years ago, I tried a divorce case in Pasadena, CA, department K.  One of the issues at the trial was whether a TRUST TRANSFER DEED satisfied the requirements for transmutation.  I argued that it did not.  Mind you, at that time, no case in California history had EVER held that a deed, of any sort, had failed to comply with Family Code Section 852.  Regardless, i continued on with my argument. 

The trial court ruled against us.  Soon after this ruling, undeterred, I appealed the decision.  

In December 2018, my client and I were vindicated.  The California Court of Appeal ruled in our favor and overturned the trial court's ruling.  The name of the case is Begian v. Sarajian.  It has now been published by the appellate court, meaning it is now citable California Law.  A must read for anyone going through a divorce and dealing with property ownership issues.  Check out the pics below!  Pic 1, is our victory. Pic 2, is the Order to publish the opinion

Thank you for reading this posting!


Patrick Baghdaserians
Certified Family Law Specialist
Baghdaserians Law Group
Family Law Attorney and Expert located in Pasadena, CA


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