How to Get Your Separate Property Down Payment Back

A situation that arises fairly often in a California divorce is when separate property is used for a down payment of a house and then community property funds is used to pay the mortgage, and the question arises how to get that separate property down payment back. Section 2640 of the California Family Code answers this question.


What types of contributions are covered by Section 2640?

  • Down payments
  • Payments for improvements
  • Payments that reduce the principal of a loan used to finance the purchase or improvement of the property

What types of contributions are not covered by Section 2640?

  • Payments of interest on the loan
  • Payments made for maintenance, insurance or taxes on the property

What is the process?


  • The law requires tracing, which means that you need to prove that the funds came from either separate property or were inherited, which can be shown various ways such as bank statements or providing the will. 


 What are the exceptions?

  • The exceptions are a transmutation in writing (agreement between the spouses about the character of the property)  or a written waiver of the right to reimbursement. 


  • The amount reimbursed must be without interest or adjustment for change in monetary values and cannot exceed the net value of the property at the time of the division. 


Consult the Law Office of David Knecht

If you need help getting your separate down payment back in a California divorce, or if you need assistance in any other aspect of divorce in California, contact us at the Law Office of David Knecht at 707-451-4502. We have extensive experience in family law.  


2022 Estate Planning Statistics

If you have not yet made time for estate planning or if you have put off updating an existing plan, you are not alone. Recent research published at indicates that although more than half of Americans think a will is important, less than 33% have a will or a trust in place. That means 2 out of 3 Americans are not covered with an estate plan. This article will highlight other interesting findings from the research and suggest ways to move forward with estate planing. 

What are some of the most interesting findings from the 2022 study? 

  • 50% more young adults now have estate planning documents since pre-pandemic
  • The typical reason cited for not estate planning amongst young people is lack of assets
  • Other reasons cited for not estate planning are 
    • Not knowing how to do a will 
    • Concerns that the process is too expensive
  • For those with the highest earnings, the main reason for delay is just simply procrastination – not getting around to it
  • Higher education correlates with seeking estate planning – about half of those with a postgraduate degree have a plan in place

 Inflation concerns may be another key factor for estate planning delay in 2022.

 What does the research show are the first steps to estate planning? 

  • The most common first step that respondents indicated was talking to a loved one. 
  • Online research was also an initial step.

What are the three main estate planning documents highlighted in the research? 

  • Wills – this is the most common type of estate document according to the survey. It can be used to divide property, guardianship, debts and more. 
  • Trusts – according to the article, trusts are useful to avoid probate, provide more support than wills for larger estates or for those who might expect a disability. A trust can take effect during life, as opposed to a will, that determines rights at death. A trust is typically more complex and expensive than a will.   
  • Advanced directives – this provides a person’s wishes regarding end of life or what happens in the event of incapacity. They are intended to take effect during life, not at death. The survey found that only 1 in 5 people knew what an advanced healthcare directive is, which indicates lack of education on this important estate planning component. 

Consult the Law Office of David Knecht

If you are one of the many people in California who need to get started on estate planning, then you would benefit from using an attorney with experience in estate planning in California. Contact Law Office of David Knecht. Call us at 707-451-4502. We have extensive experience with estate planning and can help you. 

Estate Planning for New Parents

If you are a new parent, you may be missing sleep and staying very busy caring for your new little family member. However, this is not the time to forget about estate planning because your new bundle of joy is depending on you to plan for their future. This article will highlight the top three estate planning priorities for new parents and give resources for more information.

  • Beneficiary designations

Updating your beneficiary designations is often a fast and easy way to get started. This could be your beneficiary for bank accounts, stock accounts, life insurance or any other type of account with a beneficiary. You can often update these online and it’s a quick and easy process.

  •  Guardianship

With a new baby here, you will want to designate who will take care of the baby if both parents pass away. This person will have legal and physical custody or your child and will make any decisions about the care of the child that a parent would make. For more information about guardianship, see

Here are some things you may want to consider when selecting a future guardian for your child/children:

  1. Shared values – you may want someone to rear your child as you would, with your values in mind. This may include a religion, philosophies of life, geographical location and preferences, similar education beliefs, etc.
  2. Financial security – you may want someone who has the financial security to give your children the attention and care that they need.
  3. Longevity – you may want someone who is at an age that they can be an influence in your child’s life for a long time to come, so considerations about age and health may be important here.
  4. Character – you may want to consider the character and habits of the person, for example, if the person you are considering has a long history of addiction or has criminal history, they may not be a good fit for a guardianship role
  •  Advance Healthcare Directive

An advance healthcare directive allows you to give instructions about your healthcare and designate someone to make healthcare decisions for you in the event that you cannot make them for yourself. As a new parent, you now have a child depending on you, so your healthcare preferences become even more of a priority.

To access a healthcare directive form, go to


If you are a new parent who wants an experienced attorney who can help identify and advise on your estate planning needs, contact the Law Office of David Knecht. We have extensive experience with estate planning and can set up a customized plan that’s right for you and your new little one. Contact us at 707-451-4502 for more information.


What to Look for in Your Fairfield DUI Attorney

A DUI case is complex and quite challenging. It is important to have a good DUI attorney managing your case to help you properly navigate this. Here are some tips to help you find the right Fairfield DUI attorney:


No matter what time of case you are dealing with, you need to find someone with experience. Look for an attorney with a good reputation, and one who has dealt with cases similar to yours in the past. Online reviews are helpful, but it is also beneficial to talk to an attorney about their previous cases.

Empathy and Understanding

A good Fairfield DUI attorney will be understanding about your case and this situation. The attorney will look for options to help you through this case, and even options for where you can go from here. 


A DUI case can come with a number of unexpected twists and turns in the case. A good attorney will be honest with you about the outcomes you are facing. The DUI attorney will have experience in other cases like yours, and they will be able to let you know honestly what to expect. 


A good attorney will know how to communicate effectively with their clients. The attorney will promptly return the phone calls, emails, and text messages. Having an attorney that is honest and will openly communicate with their clients shows they truly have their clients best interest in mind. 


When you meet with the attorney, gauge how well they treat you. If you do not feel that you can trust this person and do not have good chemistry with them, it is a good idea to talk to another attorney. You need to find someone you are comfortable being with, and knowing will protect you and your rights. 

Reasonable Fees

The attorney should be up front with you about the fees you will experience related to your case. A DUI is expensive, and you need to be prepared for the costs that you will need to pay. However, there are certain attorneys out there that do try to charge more than their fair share for the case. It is important to look for an attorney that you know will be reasonable and you can trust. 

Contact our team at David Knecht Law to discuss your DUI case and determine what is the best option to take for your case.

How Do I Get Out of a Contract with Vivint?

Door to door alarm sales are a hot industry in California, but some customers end up in an alarm contract they want to break.   This article addresses these oft-searched questions:   “How do I get out of a contract with Vivint?” “How can I break a Monitronics contract?” “How do I cancel with ADT?”
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