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Property acquired by purchase during a marriage is presumed to be community property, and the burden is on the spouse asserting its separate character to overcome the presumption. This presumption applies to property purchased during the marriage with funds from a disputed source, such as an account or fund in which one of the spouses has commingled his or her separate funds with community funds. The mere commingling of separate with community funds in a bank account does not destroy the character of the former if the amount thereof can be ascertained. If the property or the source of funds with which it is acquired, can be traced, its separate property character remains unchanged. But if separate and community property or funds are commingled in such a manner that it is impossible to trace the source of the property or funds, the whole will be treated as community property.
Respondent wife filed for a dissolution of her marriage to appellant husband. The trial court found that at the time of her marriage, respondent owned considerable property including income producing real property, a residence, a life insurance policy, and various bank accounts. The trial court granted a dissolution of marriage, awarded custody of the minor child of the parties to respondent, and divided the community property. The court ruled that all property held in the wife’s name or in her possession at the time of the separation was her separate property. The husband challenged the decision.
Was there substantial evidence to support the trial court's finding that the wife adequately traced and identified the sources of her separate property?
The court affirmed and held that the wife overcame the presumption that all property acquired by either spouse during the marriage was community property. The court upheld the trial court's finding of substantial evidence that the wife adequately traced the source and funds of her separate property.