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How is property divided in when a couple in Washington divorces?

On Behalf of | Dec 1, 2020 | Family Law |

When going through a divorce, some of the toughest and most emotional decisions that will have to be made is how to divide the property and debts you and your spouse have accumulated over the years. It pays to have a basic understanding of Washington’s property division laws, so you can make informed decisions during the divorce process.

Community property in Washington

Some states follow the doctrine of “equitable distribution” meaning assets will be divided in a manner that is fair, even if it does not lead to an even 50-50 split. However, Washington along with several other states follows the doctrine of “community property.” This means that almost all assets obtained during the course of the marriage are jointly owned and thus will be divided relatively equally in the event of a divorce.

Community property includes each spouse’s earnings made during the course of the marriage, property purchased during the course of the marriage and property purchased with community funds. However, inheritances, assets purchased before the marriage and gifts made to one spouse only will remain separate property. Separate property that commingles with marital property in a way wherein it is no longer possible to determine what is separate and what is marital will be considered marital property for property division purposes.

Factors considered in the property division process

Even though Washington is a community property state, courts will still consider a variety of factors when making property division decisions. Courts will consider the nature and extent of both the spouses’ community property and the spouses’ separate property. The length of the marriage may also be considered. Finally, each spouse’s economic circumstances may be considered, especially when making decisions about who will be awarded the family home and which party will have custody of any children of the marriage the majority of the time.

Seek assistance with property division in a divorce

Ultimately, this post is for informational purposes only. It does not contain legal advice and cannot guarantee any specific outcome in property division cases. Those in the Silverdale area who are facing divorce should seek the assistance they need to understand community property laws so they can make informed decisions moving forward.