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Vallera v. Vallera

Supreme Court of California
21 Cal. 2d 681 (1943)


Facts

Mrs. Vallera (plaintiff) and Mr. Vallera (defendant) were in a romantic relationship and lived together for approximately three years, beginning in 1936. Mr. Vallera was legally married to Ethel Chippo Vallera from 1933 to 1938. Mrs. Vallera knew that Mr. Vallera was married to Ethel during the time that Mr. and Mrs. Vallera were living together. Mr. Vallera and Ethel’s marriage ended on December 15, 1938. On July 6, 1940, Mr. Vallera married another woman: Lido Cappello. Mrs. Vallera filed suit to obtain spousal maintenance and a division of community property. Mrs. Vallera valued the community property at $60,000. The property acquired by Mr. and Mrs. Vallera appeared to consist solely of Mr. Vallera’s earnings. The trial court found that Mr. and Mrs. Vallera were never legally married and that Mrs. Vallera was not entitled to spousal maintenance. The trial court found, however, that property acquired by Mr. and Mrs. Vallera between the time of Mr. Vallera’s first divorce to the time of Mr. Vallera’s second marriage was held by both Mr. and Mrs. Vallera as joint tenants. Thus, Mr. and Mrs. Vallera each owned a one-half interest in the property. Mr. Vallera appealed the trial court’s ruling.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Traynor, J.)

Dissent (Curtis, J.)

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