The divorce process in Washington can be stressful and confusing and have a lasting impact on your finances. One of the challenges you’ll face during the divorce process is property division.
Washington is an equitable distribution state, which means that almost all assets, property, and debts acquired during a marriage are divided in a divorce. But, this doesn’t mean that everything is always divided in half. In reality, judges try to distribute community property fairly.
How is the division of community property in Washington done?
Under Washington divorce laws, all community assets, including stocks, bank accounts, 401k accounts, house, and other assets and debts acquired during the marriage, should be divided equally during a divorce. However, if you don’t want to divide your community property equally, you can decide with your spouse what’s fair and include it in the divorce settlement agreement.
Suppose you and your spouse can’t agree on how to divide the property. In that case, the judge can still grant unequal division if you convince the court that there is a good reason for the community property to be divided unequally.
Are assets divided equally in Washington?
The Washington state property laws dictate that community assets must be divided equally among spouses. However, this isn’t always the case. There are some situations where the property isn’t split into two:
- If there is a written agreement on the division of assets
- If there is a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement that ensures some assets are considered separate
- Gifts to a particular spouse
- Money or property inherited from someone else
However, sometimes the court can include separate property in property division. In addition, an asset that was separate property can become community property. For instance, your bank account can lose its separate status if your spouse makes deposits into it.
During our Washington divorce, all property and debts, including separate property, will be divided between you and your spouse. However, if you have property or assets you hold most dearly, you may need legal advice on how to retain them.