Gilmore v. Gilmore

45 Cal. 2d 142, 287 P.2d 769 (1955)

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Gilmore v. Gilmore

California Supreme Court
45 Cal. 2d 142, 287 P.2d 769 (1955)

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Facts

Dixie Gilmore (plaintiff) and Don Gilmore (defendant) were married for six years. During the marriage, Don owned three automobile dealerships. The dealerships were staffed such that Don worked only part-time and often took long vacations away from the dealerships. Even so, Don received a substantial annual salary, and over the marriage his ownership interest increased in value from $182,010.46 to $786,045.52. Evidence showed that the value of automobile dealerships skyrocketed as sales of automobiles to the public proliferated. Thus, the increased value of Don’s ownership interest was due to his capital investment rather than to any effort he expended during marriage. Consequently, when Dixie and Don divorced, the trial court concluded that the value increase was Don’s separate property and was not divisible between the spouses. The trial court concluded that Don’s annual salary was community income but that, because the salary funds had been fully expended for community purposes during marriage, there was no community property at the time of divorce. Dixie appealed the trial court’s judgment, challenging, among other things, the trial court’s characterization of the value increase in Don’s ownership interest.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Traynor, J.)

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