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.