Going through a divorce in Spokane is never easy. It is especially challenging for parents of blended families or parents who otherwise have disagreements about their children. You may be wondering: Can I send money to my child during a divorce? The short answer is ‘yes’—but it could be deemed “dissipation of assets” if you use community property without your spouse’s knowledge or consent.
Washington Law: Community Property & Divorce
If you are preparing for divorce and you have questions about sending money to your children, it is crucial that you have an understanding of Washington’s property division laws. Here are three things to know about sending money to children during or immediately prior to a divorce in Washington.
- A Community Property State. Washington is a community property state. In effect, this means that all of your marital property is deemed jointly owned (50/50) by you and your spouse. Any money held in a joint account is equally owned by your spouse. If you still have pre-marital separate property, you retain full control over those assets.
- Parties to a Divorce Must Disclose. You should be prepared to disclose transfers to children that happen immediately prior to the filing of a divorce petition or during divorce proceedings. If you transfer community property without your spouse’s knowledge/consent, the court could deem the transfer a form of “dissipation of assets”—meaning they could award your spouse a greater share of the marital property to rectify the matter.
- Parents Can Do What They Want With an Agreement. As long as you have your spouse’s consent, there is no issue with sending money to children. Through an agreement—formal or informal—a married couple has wide discretion to do what they wish with their own community property during a divorce.
Specialized Options for Parents to Provide Money to Children Outside of the Marriage
Once you are already preparing for a divorce, the money that you send to children from outside of your marriage could be an issue in property division. However, there are specialized legal tools that parents can use prior to getting married to provide money for the support of their children. There are two uniform laws in place:
- The Uniform Gifts to Minors Act (UGMA); and
- The Uniform Transfers to Minors Act (UTMA).
As explained by the Social Security Administration (SSA), these long-standing model laws allow parents to set up certain accounts (UGMA account and UTMA account) for the benefit of their children. Funds held in these accounts are purely for the benefit of minors (under 25) and are not considered community property if the parent who set up the account gets married.
Smart Divorce Lawyers Representing Families in the Greater Spokane Metro Area
At Hodgson Law Office, our Spokane divorce attorney has the professional skills and legal expertise to help you navigate complex financial matters. If you have any questions about sending money to children during a separation, we are more than ready to help. Give us a call now or connect with us online for a confidential case evaluation. With a law office in Spokane, we provide family law representation throughout Eastern Washington.