Summary of Adamson v. Hunt, S. Ct. Oregon, 1975
TENANCY BY THE ENTIRETY
Relevant Facts: PL Margaret married Brian. Then they wanted to purchased a fourplex apartment, and put down the earnest money with Hunt(df). Brian’s mother Inez(df) advanced the down payment of $5000 and was listed as a purchaser of the property. Seven years after the K, Brian conveyed interest to his father. 3 mos. later Brian and Margaret filed for divorce, with interest set aside solely to Margaret. Divorce decree specified that the property was awarded to Margaret.
Legal Issue(s): Whether Brain and Margaret had one half interest as tenants by the entirety and Inez had one half interest individually?
Court’s Holding: Yes
Procedure: Pl filed suit to determine equitable interest in a land sale contract between herself, and co-purchaser. Trial ct. decreed PL owned 2/3 and df owned 1/3 interest and ordered an accounting and sale of those interests. Df appeals. Reversed in part.
Law or Rule(s): The historical unity of husband and wife is apparent in the tendency of courts to award each couple only a single share under a tenancy by the entirety conveyance.
Court Rationale: The divorce decree awarded Pl Margaret all rights and title to interest formerly belonging to Brian. Brian and Margaret formerly owned one half of the interest as tenants by the entirety, and thereby Margaret then owned one half of the total interest in the property. Df by virtue of the deed owned the other one half of the interest to the property. The concept of tenancy by the entirety is that the husband and wife are but one person in the law.
Plaintiff’s Argument: Pl and Brian were separate owners of one third each, joined with Inez who also owned one third interest in the property.
Defendant’s Argument: The interests taken by Margaret and Brian were taken as tenants by the entirety and as such the most the could possess is one half.