Event Details

TRACING – Is what’s “MINE” really “OURS?"

The 5 W’s of a good tracing story:


  • Who is making the claim? Is the burden of proof on the community or separatizer?
  • What is the asset or assets to be traced. Do they still exist?
  • When was the asset acquired; pre marriage, during marriage or after separation?
  • Where did the funds come from to acquire the asset; pre-marital assets, post separation earnings, inheritance, gift?
  • Why do we have to do all this work?


Michael and Darlene will walk you through the mechanics and legal background of a separate property tracing. They will also be discussing, among other things, the cases that provide the guide posts for tracing….and most important – How to manage the expectations of your client.


Darlene Elmore photo

Darlene Elmore

Darlene has over 30 years of experience as an accountant and has worked in public accounting for the last 27. With an office in Santa Rosa, her practice is focused on providing forensic accounting analysis and services, with an emphasis on family law matters. In additional to her certification as a CPA, she is accredited in Business Valuation (ABV) and Certified in Financial Forensics (CFF) by the AICPA.

Fish, Michael

Michael Fish
Merrill, Arnone & Jones LLP

Mr. Fish has earned an outstanding reputation as an attorney experienced in his litigation and transactional practice. He has counseled clients on matters as diverse as family law (divorce, child custody & support); real estate development; business entity formation, operation and termination; acquisitions and sales of businesses; and estate planning.

He is also well known for representing attorneys and clients and he is often sought after to serve as a court-qualified expert in attorney-client fee disputes.

He has served as a successful mediator and regular and successful settlement conference Judge Pro Tem in both family law and civil matters for over 20 years. In addition, he presides over numerous arbitrations and has trained arbitrators in almost every county in the state.

Mr. Fish is the current vice chairperson and former chairperson of the Sonoma County Bar Association Fee Arbitration Committee and the past chairperson of the Marin County Bar Association Client Relations Committee. He has served as Chair of the State Bar of California Mandatory Fee Arbitration Committee.

He currently serves on the Sonoma County Bar Association Family Law Education Committee. He is a former Trustee of the UC Hastings 1066 Foundation and is currently a Master with the Edward J. McFetridge American Inn of Court.

Mr. Fish has been involved in Rotary for over 30 years, serving in many capacities, including, but not limited to, Rotary Club President, District Governor and District Director for the Rotary Foundation Permanent Fund. He is also is a Past Chairman of the Board and a current Director of Rotaplast International, Inc., a program providing free cleft palate and cleft lip surgeries to indigent children and has led teams to Argentina, Venezuela and Egypt. Rotaplast has operated on over 20,000 children since the program’s inception.

Mr. Fish is a sought-after speaker on numerous legal and humanitarian-related topics.

Mr. Fish is a graduate of University of California Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco and has been practicing in Marin and Sonoma Counties for over 40 years.

Lawyer Referral Service

Contact Win Rogers by email or call her at (707) 546-5297 for referrals or learn more.