Property Division In Washington
With the exception of child custody, property division is probably the most common area of contention between divorcing spouses. Washington is a community property state, which means that everything you and your spouse obtained while you were married is considered both yours and your spouses. The same is true for any debts incurred during the marriage. If you want certain property, you will need to come to an agreement with your spouse that you leave with that property. If you cannot come to an agreement with your spouse, you will need to convince the court that you should be the one to retain the property once the marriage is dissolved.
Separate Vs Community Property
Generally, the community property in your divorce will need to be divided between you and your spouse, while separate property will be kept by the individual in possession of it. Whatever property you owned before you got married is usually considered separate by the court, as is property that was given directly to you while you were married – like an inheritance. The court will want to know what property is separate and what is community in order to make an informed decision on how it will be divided.
The Court Will Determine the Division of Both Community and Separate Property
The division of property is not always reserved for just community property. There are times when separate property is divided up by the court, depending on several different factors: The length of your marriage, the financial situation of each spouse and the contributions of each spouse during the marriage. All of these factors are considered by the court and can make property division very difficult to navigate. For instance, if one spouse owned a business before getting married, on the surface it would appear that the business was separate property. But if the non-owner spouse sacrificed a career so that the owner could build the business, the court may decide that the non-owner spouse should be compensated. A court could also consider any increase in business during the time of the marriage which is attributable to the spouse and compensate the non-owner spouse for the increase in value.
Washington Is A No-Fault State
Because Washington is a no-fault state, the behavior of each spouse during the marriage is not taken into consideration when the court divides property. It does not matter if a spouse had an affair, a drug habit, or otherwise acted poorly towards the other spouse. The only exception to the no-fault rule is if the spouse significantly depleted community property in pursuit of the bad behavior. If the spouse cashed in the savings account to support a mistress, the court could take such action into account.
Helping Clients Fight For What They Deserve
At Twyford Law Office, we use our experience and training to help clients get the property they need and want out of their divorce. Our team has a proven ability to fight effectively on behalf of clients; an ability we are ready to put to work for you. Please contact our firm today to discuss your divorce and learn how we can help you fight successfully for your property.