H owned stock in business he started before marriage. TCT applied Van Camp formula and characterized the increased value of the stock after marriage as a return on H’s separate property, finding H had not contributed to growth of business during marriage. Affirmed. In order to apply Van Camp, instead of Pereira, the court does not need to find a spouse “made absolutely no contribution to the increase in value during the marriage….”  Instead, the issue is whether the spouse’s “efforts during the marriage were the “chief contributing factor” causing the increase[,]” citing Brandes.  CtA rejected W’s argument that Van Camp only applies when market changes cause the increase of separate property during marriage. Substantial evidence supported TCT’s finding H’s earnings during marriage adequately compensated the community for his efforts. As a result, TCT did not abuse its discretion in applying VanCamp to apportion the increase in stock value during the marriage.

Marriage of Brooks
3/27/19, CA 6:  H043467