Washington Law Review


Donald B. King


During the past half century, one of the most significant problems in the area of community property has been the apportionment of income or of an increase in value in situations involving the expenditure of community labor on separate property. Arising out of a conflict between fundamental community property concepts, this problem has served to perplex lawyers and judges alike. Confronted with the problem, courts have designed a number of systems of apportionment with wide-ranging consequences. Some of these systems, however, are inequitable, others are inflexible, and still others lack any definite criteria. Despite the efforts devoted toward solving this problem, it still remains surrounded by the ominous clouds of inequity and uncertainty. In light of the diverse systems of apportionment and their varying results, a knowledge of the law in this area is of particular importance to the lawyer and his client. Likewise, the judge, in reaching a sound result, must have a thorough knowledge of the various facets of the problem and the various solutions which have been developed. In considering the challenges presented in this area, it is advisable to consider the underlying reasons for the basic problem, the various attempts of the courts to solve the problem, and the application of these systems. It is then possible to consider the various techniques for avoiding the problem and the development of a more equitable and satisfactory method of apportionment.

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