Beam v. Bank Of America

6 Cal.3d 12 (1971)


H and W were married on January 31, 1939. They divorced in 1968, after 29 years of marriage. Prior to and during the early years of the marriage, H inherited a total of $ 1,629,129 in cash and securities. H was not employed during the marriage and devoted his time to handling the separate estate and engaging in private ventures with his own capital. H spent the major part of his time studying the stock market and actively trading in stocks and bonds; he also undertook several real estate ventures, including the construction of two hotel resorts. H not particularly successful. Over the lengthy marriage, H's total estate enjoyed only a very modest increase to $1,850,507.33. The only money received and spent during their marriage were derived from H's separate estate. w's sole occupation was that of housewife and mother. The ordinary living expenses were $2,000 per month and, in addition, after 1960, the family incurred extraordinary expenses (for travel, weddings, gifts) of $22,000 per year. The only community property was a promissory note in the sum of $38,000, payable in monthly installments of $262.56. The trial court awarded the entire proceeds of the note to W. W contends that the trial court erred in failing to find any community property resulting from the industry, efforts, and skill expended by her husband over the 29 years of marriage.