Thursday, September 1, 2022

Tracing Property

When it comes to the property issues in divorce, it becomes important to determine if either person has "separate" property, which normally includes property you brought into the marriage, or that you inherited during the marriage.

Title is not significant unless there is something more than just a signature on the title to show that a gift of property (either from the separate property to the marital "community" property, or the other way around).  For example, both spouses signing on the title to refinance the separate property home, without more, does not show that the spouse who owned the home meant to make the house into community property. 

The important question is the "source of funds" used to make purchases of property at issue in the divorce.  That is why you want to be able to "trace" the money you brought into the marriage, and where it went.  These matters all become pretty complex pretty fast -- for example, if the community funds were used to put a new roof on the separate property home, the community might have a "lien" against the separate property for those funds.  If the community made the house payments, but the house payment was equal or less than reasonable rent, then the separate property is unlikely to owe the community for the community paying down the mortgage. And so on.

Craig Mason of Mason Law in Spokane, WA, is accustomed to addressing these issues.  Contact him at 509-443-3681 or