Divorce is difficult, emotionally and financially. During a divorce, the divorcing couple will try to determine how to split their life together into two. This is never an easy task, and can be especially daunting when the assets are difficult to determine, or difficult to split.
Issues can arise about which portion of the property is community property, and which portion is separate. What may seem very obvious to one spouse may not be seen the same by the other spouse. For instance, the wife may say that an account is her own separate property because it was started before she was married and partially funded by an inheritance that she received from her family. Her husband may disagree, stating that he was consistently depositing a portion of the family funds into the account and that his wife had gratuitously placed his name on the account as a co-owner, while she made numerous withdrawals. Which portion remains as her separate property? All? Some? None?
When it comes to money and assets which are “co-mingled” (mixed) with other assets, determining what belongs to whom can be quite complicated. Rarely, one spouse will have separate funds that are kept separate, in his/her own name, and are NEVER mixed in any way with the marital funds or separate funds of the other spouse. However, it is more common that things become mixed up, transferred, sold, added-to, gifted, bargained and exchanged. This is life.
If you have a high-asset complicated divorce, it is important that you have an attorney representing you that has experience in these issues and knows how to defend what is yours. Your divorce attorney will need to work closely with you, and possibly with your accountant or other professionals, reviewing documents and asking questions, getting a full picture of your estate. This includes the date of inception of the assets, ownership and title, interest rate, growth, withdrawals, deposits, and other details. A picture will emerge which will enable you and your attorney to explain the case to the opposing side, a mediator, judge and/or jury. You will be presented with a realistic picture so that you can determine your expectations, ability to settle, or necessity or proceeding to your day in court.