Do a cost benefit analysis and see if you can get a forensic accountant to be appointed and the Court to order the costs be split. I work in San Jose area and have extensive experience with this. If you would like to make an appointment with my office, please visit my Avvo profile and I would be happy to schedule one. You may also consider if not hiring the accountant, getting one as a consultant to assist you in the tracing. I do it all the time.
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Accord with both prior responses. You could propound discovery, including Requests for Admission of Truth of Facts and Special Interrogatgories, the responses to which could be admitted into evidence at trial. You would best retain an experienced Family Law Attorney if you are not now represented.
Please note that this answer does not constitute legal advice, and should not be relied on, as each situation is fact specific, and it is not possible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and court pleadings filed in the case. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship.
In a trial, the court would likely require documentary evidence, and an expert witness (forensic accountant, in this case) would be the best way to introduce the evidence into the record.
In the absence of documentary evidence, you have an uphill battle ahead of you. The judge could look to your credibility, but this only goes so far, in my experience. Documents really do rule.
I like Mr. Conviser's idea regarding a Request for Admissions. This is a formal form of the discovery process.
At an SOC the format is much more free-wheeling, and is more akin to mediation. You might be able to convince the Settlement Officer of your claims. But if you can't convince your spouse, then it goes nowhere, since the Settlement Officer has no judicial authority beyond affirming any agreements that you might make.
Consider hiring counsel to assist you.
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While I agree with previous counsel Mr. Williams’ suggestion of hiring a forensic expert, if you have the financial resources, this would be the best way to go. Otherwise, if you say it’s very obvious about the existence of separate property, you need to bring in as many witnesses as possible to trial to testify that they have personal knowledge of where, how, and when you received the separate property and how you maintained the identity of the separate property during and throughout the marriage.
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