Garcia v. Venegas

Decision Date30 August 1951
Citation235 P.2d 89,106 Cal.App.2d 364
PartiesGARCIA v. VENEGAS et al. Civ. 14944.
CourtCalifornia Court of Appeals Court of Appeals

Marcus E. Gracia, Ralph Bancroft, San Francisco, for appellant.

Manny C. Gomez, San Jose, for respondent.

FRED B. WOOD, Justice.

Defendant Jose Venegas appeals from a judgment against him and in favor of plaintiff Julia Maria Garcia in the sum of $1,860, representing the amount by which the value of her services exceeded the value of the maintenance and support which he furnished to her during the period of time these parties, unmarried, lived together as man and wife.

Appellant claims that the finding of an obligation upon his part to compensate respondent for her services is without support in the evidence because of asserted lack of proof of an agreement, express or implied, to so compensate; that said finding is not within the issues framed by the pleadings; and that his motion for nonsuit should have been granted.

The amended complaint, filed by leave of court to conform to the proof and the theory upon which the case was tried, embraced two causes of action. In one, respondent alleged that she and appellant lived together as man and wife from about May 15, 1942, to July 23, 1947; that during said period she contributed money work and services equally with him; and that as a result of joint contributions of money, work and services they jointly accumulated real and personal property. In the second count, respondent incorporated by reference the allegations of the first count and in addition alleged that on many occasions during the period between May 15, 1942, and July 23, 1947, appellant orally agreed with her that in consideration for her contributions of money, work and services said property and all of the properties by them accumulated would be owned by appellant and respondent. In the prayer of the complaint respondent requested that she be declared the owner of a one-half interest in said property, and asked for general relief.

The trial court found that appellant and respondent lived together as man and wife during the period of May, 1942, to July, 1947, a period of 62 months; that during said period respondent contributed money, work and services equally with the appellant; that appellant agreed with respondent during said relationship that everything they acquired would belong to both of them; that as a result of joint contributions of money, work and services they jointly accumulated real and personal property; that the reasonable value of respondent's services during said period of 62 months exceeded in value the maintenance and support furnished by appellant to respondent by the sum of $30 per month, or a total sum of $1,860.

The court concluded that respondent was not entitled to an undivided one-half interest in the property mentioned in the complaint, the property accumulated during said period of 62 months, but was entitled to recover from appellant the sum of $1,860, the amount by which the reasonable value of her services furnished to the appellant exceeded in value the maintenance and support furnished by appellant to respondent, and that said sum of $1,860 be a lien on the real property mentioned in the complaint, and rendered judgment in accordance with these conclusions.

Appellant is correct in his contention that no express agreement, oral or written, by appellant to compensate respondent for her services was within the issues presented by the pleadings. Nor is there any evidence of such an agreement. And we find in the record no basis for an implied or quasi-contractual obligation upon the part of appellant to compensate respondent for her services.

However, the evidence is sufficient to support the findings that these parties lived together as man and wife during the period of May, 1942, on July, 1947, a period of 62 months; that appellant agreed with respondent during said relationship that everything they acquired would belong to both of them; that during such period respondent contributed money, work and services, and that as a result of their joint contributions of money, work and services they accumulated the real property mentioned in the complaint; findings that were within the issues framed by the pleadings.

Respondent testified that they began living together on May 15, 1942, and continued to do so until July 23, 1947; that neither of them had any money when they started living together and that appellant then and many times thereafter said that everything was both for him and for her, that everything was for both of them, that all he bought was in her power or in her possession; that he used to tell her all the time that all that was there was theirs, and that all the furniture was hers; that during most of that time she took in boarders and part of the time she rented rooms to tenants; that she paid the rent with, and she and appellant lived off of, the earnings of rooms which she sublet and the money she received from the boarders; that the money he earned when he worked out was saved for the purpose of buying property; that out of the proceeds of pay checks which he thus saved he bought three lots for $375 in 1943 and later sold the lots for $900; that he then bought a house and lot, applying the $900 toward the purchase price; that she sold her furniture for $200 and this sum also was applied toward said purchase price; that when appellant bought said real property he said to her that all they had there was for both of them; and that all the time he used to repeat that to her. The evidence shows without conflict that by an agreement dated July 27, and acknowledged August 14, 1945, appellant contracted for the purchase of said real property for $3,500, paying $1,500 down and agreeing to pay the balance at the rate of $50 per month, plus interest; that by July 23, 1947, when these parties ceased living together, all but $850 of the purchase price had been paid; and that at the time of the trial the principal sum had been reduced to $30.

From these findings that are within the issues and are supported by the evidence, it follows that respondent has a one-half interest in the real property acquired by appellant pursuant to his contract of purchase dated July 27, 1945.

This was not a putative marriage. The parties knew they were not married. Accordingly, if there were no agreement between them concerning property acquired or compensation for services rendered while living together, the law would leave them in the position in which they placed themselves. Oakley v. Oakley, 82 Cal.App.2d 188, 190-192, and cases cited, 185 P.2d 848. But when, as here, they entered into a contract to pool their work and earnings and share equally in the property accumulated therewith, and the illicit relationship was not so involved in the contract as to render it illegal, the law recognizes the contract and enforces the rights arising out of it. Such a joint business enterprise, somewhat akin to a partnership, is one which any two persons (two women or two men, for example) might undertake. In Bacon v. Bacon, 21 Cal.App.2d 540, 69 P.2d 884, an action brought by the woman against the man to establish an equitable interest in and quiet title to certain real property, it appeared that when they began living together they mutually agreed that their future earnings and all property acquired therewith should be owned in common. A certain portion of the real property mentioned in the complaint was acquired with such common funds. The court held that the plaintiff was entitled to a decree quieting title to an undivided one-half interest in the real property so acquired. The applicable principle involved in the Bacon case, though not expressly stated therein, was later expressed by the Supreme Court in these words: 'Plaintiff's lack of good faith in alleging the belief that she had entered into a valid marriage would not, however, preclude her from recovering property to which she would otherwise be entitled. If a man and woman live together as husband and wife under an agreement to pool their earnings and share equally in their joint accumulations, equity will protect the...

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20 cases
  • Marvin v. Marvin
    • United States
    • California Supreme Court
    • December 27, 1976
    ...in' an illicit relationship (see Shaw v. Shaw (1964) 227 Cal.App.2d 159, 164, 38 Cal.Rptr. 520 (dictum); Garcia v. Venegas (1951) 106 Cal.App.2d 364, 368, 235 P.2d 89 (dictum), or made in 'contemplation' of such a relationship (Hill v. Estate of Westbrook (1950) 95 Cal.App.2d 599, 602, 213 ......
  • Tyranski v. Piggins
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Michigan — District of US
    • February 20, 1973
    ...21 Cal.Rptr. 593, 596, 371 P.2d 329, 332 (1962); Vallera v. Vallera, Supra, 21 Cal.2d 681, 134 P.2d p. 763; Garcia v. Venegas, 106 Cal.App.2d 364, 368, 235 P.2d 89, 92 (1951).4 Wurche v. Stenzel, 270 Cal.App.2d 499, 504--505, 75 Cal.Rptr. 856, 859--860 (1969); Merchants National Bank of Mob......
  • Cook v. Cook, 17520-PR
    • United States
    • Arizona Supreme Court
    • October 31, 1984
    ...exclusion of the other, as some courts have done. See Bridges v. Bridges, 125 Cal.App.2d 359, 270 P.2d 69 (1954); Garcia v. Venegas, 106 Cal.App.2d 364, 235 P.2d 89 (1951); Kinkenon v. Hue, 207 Neb. 698, 301 N.W.2d 77 (1981). Neither need the court look solely to the title in which joint pr......
  • Marriage of Cary, In re
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals Court of Appeals
    • September 26, 1973
    ...in which they placed themselves.' (Cline v. Festersen (1954), 128 Cal.App.2d 380, 384, 275 P.2d 149, 151; Garcia v. Venegas (1951), 106 Cal.App.2d 364, 369, 235 P.2d 89; Baskett v. Crook, supra, 86 Cal.App.2d at p. 362, 195 P.2d 39; Oakley v. Oakley, supra, 82 Cal.App.2d at p. 192, 185 P.2d......
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1 books & journal articles
  • Nonmarital Contracts.
    • United States
    • Stanford Law Review Vol. 73 No. 1, January 2021
    • January 1, 2021
    ...Oltarsh, 63 N.Y.S.2d 674 (App. Term. 1946) (per curiam), rev'g 59 N.Y.S.2d 366 (N.Y. City Ct. 1946) Garcia v. Venegas, Oral California 235 P.2d 89 (Cal. Dist. Ct. App. 1951) Hughes v. Kay, Oral Oregon 242 P.2d 788 (Or. 1952) Ferraro v. Oral California Ferraro, 304 P.2d 168 (Cal. Dist.Ct. Ap......

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