After a committed intimate relationship but before a divorce is final, the individuals have to divide up property, financial assets, and debt. It can be difficult to come to an agreement on how to divvy up property, especially where there is anger or resentment towards the other spouse. Ideally, the individuals can come to an agreement on how to divide property. However, if the couple cannot agree on property distribution after a divorce, the court may have to decide who gets what.
Categorizing Property in a Washington Divorce
Washington is considered a community property state. Generally, that means that the property the spouses accumulated during the marriage is marital property that equally belongs to both spouses. Separate property belongs to only one spouse, and generally includes property the spouse had before the marriage or after separation. A gift given to one spouse or an inheritance to one spouse during the marriage may also be considered separate property.
Dividing Community Property in Washington
Under RCW 26.09.080, in a proceeding for the disposition of property after a divorce, the court will make a disposition of the property and liabilities, “as shall appear just and equitable.” This is not necessarily a split down the middle. The court will consider the following factors when distributing property and liabilities:
- The nature and extent of the community property.
- The nature and extent of the separate property.
- The duration of the marriage or domestic partnership.
- The economic circumstances of each spouse or domestic partner at the time the division of property is to become effective, including the desirability of awarding the family home or the right to live therein for reasonable periods to a spouse or domestic partner with whom the children reside the majority of the time.
Who Gets the Family Home After a Divorce?
Large assets like a family home can be more complicated. There may be a number of factors in deciding what to do with a family home, including:
- Whether there are children,
- Which spouse has primary custody of the children,
- History of the home-ownership, and
- Amount still owed on the property.
To understand what happens to real property in a divorce or separation, contact the Law Offices of Alesha Struthers.
Washington Family Law Attorney in Tacoma and Mill Creek
Property division in a divorce can be complicated. It is important to have an advocate on your side to fight for what you deserve, to make sure you keep the property you are owed and do not have to pay for someone else's debts. With offices in Tukwila, Mill Creek, and Tacoma, we can provide divorce and family law services for individuals and families throughout western Washington. Contact the Law Offices of Alesha Struthers today to understand what you can do to secure your property and assets after a separation or divorce.