Do I have to share all of my assets with my spouse?
Mary Ann R. Burmester’s Answer
If it is separate property you don’t, if it is community property you do. Property you owned before you were married or that you received by gift or inheritance during the marriage is your separate property. The proceeds of separate property remain separate property. For example, if you owned a house before marriage and you rented it out while married, the rent money continues to be your separate property so long as you didn’t use the rent money to pay for community debts or to put toward purchasing community property.
All property acquired while married is presumptively community property, including retirement benefits that build up during the marriage. Income earned after the wedding is also considered community property, even if only one spouse is employed. The person claiming something is separate property, or the proceeds of separate property, has the burden of proving it.
Sometimes couples mix up separate and community property so much that it cannot be traced. For example, the wife inherits $50,000. She deposits the money into a joint bank account with her spouse and they use the money to renovate the kitchen in the community property home, take a vacation with the money, and pay off the spouse’s motorcycle loan. By doing this with the money, the wife has co-mingled her separate property inheritance with community expenses to the point where she probably transmuted the separate property into community property