divorce reimbursement claims

What are the types of reimbursements I can get during a divorce?

Under California family law, the concepts of credit and reimbursement are related to the division of property during divorce or legal separation.

A “credit” refers to a dollar-for-dollar offset against a spouse’s share of community property for expenses or contributions made during the marriage. For example, if one spouse used community funds to pay off a separate debt, they may be entitled to a credit for that amount to reduce the amount of community property the other spouse would receive.

A “reimbursement” refers to the right of one spouse to be repaid for contributions made to the other spouse’s separate property during the marriage. For example, if one spouse used their separate funds to make improvements to a property owned solely by the other spouse, they may be entitled to a reimbursement for the amount they contributed.

The key difference between a credit and a reimbursement is that a credit is an offset against the division of community property, whereas a reimbursement is a separate claim for repayment of funds that were used to benefit the other spouse’s separate property.

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How to calculate reimbursements in a divorce for the state of California

In California, you may be entitled to reimbursements in a divorce if you made contributions to your spouse’s separate property during the marriage. Separate property refers to property that is owned by one spouse alone, and not considered part of the community property.

Examples of contributions that may give rise to a reimbursement claim include:

  • Using your separate property funds to pay for mortgage payments, property taxes, or home improvements on your spouse’s separate property.
  • Using your separate property funds to pay for education or training that increased the earning capacity of your spouse’s separate property.
  • Using your separate property funds to pay off your spouse’s separate debts. 

In order to obtain reimbursement for these contributions, you would need to show that the contributions were made during the marriage, that the contributions were made to your spouse’s separate property, and that the contributions were not gifts. It is also important to note that you must make your claim for reimbursement during the divorce proceedings, as the court may not be able to award it after the divorce is finalized.

What do I need to show to prove reimbursements? 

In order to prove that you are entitled to credit or reimbursements in a divorce under California law, you will need to provide evidence to support your claim. Here are some steps that may help you prove your entitlement:

  1. Gather evidence of your contributions: You will need to provide documentation to show that you made contributions to your spouse’s separate property during the marriage. This may include receipts, cancelled checks, bank statements, and other financial records.
  2. Establish the value of the contributions: You will need to determine the value of the contributions you made. For example, if you paid for improvements to your spouse’s separate property, you will need to obtain an estimate of the value of those improvements.
  3. Consult with an expert: Depending on the nature of your claim, you may need to consult with an expert, such as a real estate appraiser, to help you determine the value of your contributions.
  4. File a motion with the court: You will need to file a motion with the court to request reimbursement or credit. In your motion, you should provide a detailed explanation of your claim, including the evidence you have gathered and the legal basis for your claim.
  5. Attend a hearing: Once you file your motion, the court will set a hearing date. You will need to attend the hearing and present your evidence to the judge. The judge will then make a decision about whether you are entitled to reimbursement or credit.

It is important to note that the process of proving your entitlement to reimbursements or credit can be complex, and it is advisable to consult with an experienced family law attorney who can guide you through the process and help you protect your rights. At Hart Ginney LLP, we can help you sort through your claims and organize your financials to put you in the best position to get the reimbursements owed to you.  Tracing your claims for reimbursement can be difficult.  You don’t have to do it alone. 

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