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Marriage of Wright

Court of Appeal of California
189 Cal. Rptr 336 (1983)


Facts

Mr. Wright (plaintiff) and Mrs. Wright (defendant) were married for 12 years and separated in June 1976. Less than one month after the separation of the parties, Mr. Wright received a severance payment in the amount of $24,208.64 from the hospital where he had been employed since 1972 as an assistant administrator. The trial court heard testimony from the hospital administrator that the severance-payment amount was not based upon the past performance of Mr. Wright but was based upon the difficulties that the hospital anticipated Mr. Wright would have in securing new employment. Both Mrs. Wright and Mr. Wright's father-in-law, who was employed as the hospital chaplain, had communicated directly with the hospital administrator that they intended to make Mr. Wright's employment situation as difficult as possible. The trial court held that the severance payment was community property and awarded Mrs. Wright a one-half interest in the severance payment. Mr. Wright appealed the trial court's determination.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Andreen, J.)

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  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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