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In re Marriage of Blaine

Court of Appeals of Colorado, Fifth Division

October 31, 2019

In re the Marriage of Jack Allen Blaine, Appellant, and Qing He, Appellee.

          Jefferson County District Court No. 16DR31064 Honorable Dennis J. Hall, Judge

          Law Offices of Rodger C. Daley, Rodger C. Daley, Denver, Colorado, for Appellant

          GreenLaw International LLC, Ralph J. Strebel, Lakewood, Colorado, for Appellee

          Lass Moses Ramp & Cooper, LLC, Patricia A. Cooper, Marie Avery Moses, Denver, Colorado, for Amicus Curiae Colorado Chapter of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers

          OPINION

          TERRY, JUDGE

         ¶ 1 Jack Allen Blaine (husband) appeals the permanent orders entered on the dissolution of his marriage to Qing He (wife). We affirm.

         ¶ 2 Because husband voluntarily conveyed real property to wife in an interspousal transfer deed, and testified that he intended by that conveyance that the property would be wife's separate property, we conclude that the district court did not err in ruling that the property was wife's separate property, even though the deed was not a marital agreement under the Uniform Premarital and Marital Agreements Act (UPMAA), §§ 14-2-301 to -313, C.R.S. 2019. In so holding, we distinguish this case from In re Marriage of Zander, 2019 COA 149.

         ¶ 3 We further conclude that the district court did not err by not dividing certain funds that remained in wife's bank account at the time of dissolution.

         I. Background

         ¶ 4 The parties' two-year marriage ended in 2018. The sole issue for permanent orders was husband's claim that wife had borrowed a total of $346, 500 from him in various increments over the course of the marriage and had used the funds primarily toward the separate property purchase of a home in California worth $1, 100, 000. Husband argued that wife should be ordered to repay the borrowed funds and that it would be unconscionable for her to keep the California home without doing so. Wife argued that the funds were given to her by husband with no expectation of repayment.

         ¶ 5 After a hearing, the district court found that the first $50, 000 husband had transferred to wife was a gift for wife's mother and was given according to Chinese custom with no expectation of repayment, but that the remainder of the funds were neither loaned nor gifted but were funds husband contributed to the marriage. However, because after transferring the funds to wife, husband signed an "interspousal transfer deed" conveying the California home to her "as her sole and separate property," any marital interest husband had in the home based on the funds he provided "was extinguished." Therefore, the court set aside the home as wife's separate property. It found the increase in value of the home during the marriage was $82, 939, and awarded that amount to husband.

         ¶ 6 The court denied husband's motion to reconsider the permanent orders.

         II. Analysis

         A. Failure to Set Aside the ...


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