Commingling Separate Property May Not Make it 100% Community Property

Pierre Domercq Divorce

One of the most imporatant aspects of divorce in Carlsbad or North County outside of child custody and visitation or “parenting time” is the characterization of property and how it is divided. If you owned property or had investments or a trust account before getting married, those assets are generally considered “separate property” in a divorce, and are not subject to division as part of the couple’s community property.
For example, lets say a woman owns a small rental house prior to getting married. As long as she keeps all of the income, repairs, payments and taxes in completely separate accounts from the community accounts of the marriage the rental property will remain separate property.
This issue becomes clouded when separate property is “commingled” with community property. If the woman’s rental property required extensive repairs, and her husband performed many of those repairs the “community” begins to have an interest in her “separate” property. This is enhanced each time money from the couple’s bank accounts are used to repair the property or hire professionals to support it.
Another example might be inherited money in a trust account. In this example a man received $50,000 from a grandparent upon their passing as an inheritance. The money was placed in a trust account in his name alone. A few years later he marries, and the couple uses his $50,000 inheritance as the down payment on the family home. The couple continues to make the PITI payments and all repairs out of their community bank accounts. What happens to that $50,000 investment when the couple later decides to divorce?
This is why it is so important to work with the experienced divorce and family law attorneys at Burke & Domercq. Our lawyers have decades of experience and expertise in complex property division cases, especially those involving investments, separate property or business ownership. We invite you to contact us or call 760-712-3471 to schedule an appointment with one of our attorneys.
Protect your “separate property” and maximize the amount of money you will have to begin the next chapter of your life.