Question #114:I have been married for 5 years. My husband and I have 2 children, ages 1 and 4. He recently had an affair, and filed for divorce. My problem has to do with determining separate & community property. He owned two properties from a trust prior to our marriage. After we married, we used proceeds from the sale of one of the properties to buy a new home jointly. Later, we sold that property, took out a equity loan against his remaining trust property, and used it to buy our current residence. Over the years I contributed to the maintenance and mortgages of the properties, loans, bills, etc. Most all of our funds have been “comingled” in joint banking accounts. He is claiming that we have no “community property” because of the trust issue – we live in California – and I am only entitled to split our debts. Is there any documentation that I might have that might help resolving this matter? What can I do?! Thanks for your help!

By contributing the assets which were originally part of your husband’s trust funds which were his separate property, your husband has in effect made a gift to you of the funds which he had. This is true especially since you are now contributing to the maintenance, mortgage, and other property expenses. The issue is somewhat complex, in that he may have a claim to be reimbursed for monies that were his separate property, but if the property is in fact in both names, it is marital property and as such you should have a marital interest in such property. I strongly suggest you contact an attorney-mediator in your area experienced in these matters who can assist you and your husband to resolve this and all the other issues necessary to conclude your divorce without costly litigation.

Leonard M. Weiner, Esq./Divorce Solutions