Our Experienced Spokane Property Division Lawyers Are Ready to Help You
The issues addressed by a divorce can trigger powerful emotions. But property division could determine your economic future because much of your wealth comes from your individual and marital property. And you may have emotional attachments to your personal property, like cars or pets, that will be included in the marital assets.
When you face a divorce in Spokane, Spokane County, Stevens County, Lincoln County, or Adams County, you risk losing some or all of these assets. You could also get stuck with some or all of your spouse's debts.
We fight to ensure you keep all of your property and take on none of your ex-spouse's debts in accordance with Washington law.
Community Property vs. Separate Property Division in Washington
Washington is a community property state. All property owned by you and your spouse gets classified as either separate or community property. Separate property includes all of the property acquired before marriage and any property acquired after the marriage by:
- - Gift
- - Bequest
- - Inheritance
It also includes anything acquired using your property. Suppose that you bought a car with money you inherited. That car is considered separate. Separate property and money are usually yours, so you will argue that 100% of this property should go to you.
Community property is any property or debt acquired by the couple during the marriage. It also includes anything acquired by the parties in another state that would be classified as community property locally. These assets get divided equitably between spouses.
Factors that Affect Assets & Debts Division in a Divorce
Property division does not always go smoothly. This difficult process arises because:
- - Spouses dispute which property was separate or community
- - Judges divide property equitably, not equally
The first issue must be resolved by a judge.
When spouses dispute property, a judge decides how to classify each piece of property based on:
- - When the property was acquired
- - Whether individual or shared assets were used to acquire the property
Your property might not be completely safe even after a judge classifies it as separate. Under the second issue, judges have the authority to dispose of both types of property during a divorce. Factors a judge will consider when dividing property include:
- - The nature and extent of the community and separate property
- - How long you were married
- - Each spouse's economic circumstances
A judge can award more than 50% of marital property as well as the value of separate property based on these considerations.
Washington Is a No-Fault Divorce State
No-fault divorce filings do not need to assert a reason for the divorce. A no-fault divorce allows you to dissolve your marriage for any reason or no reason. The no-fault nature of divorces also influences property division. When dividing property, judges cannot consider misconduct by the other spouse, such as:
- - Infidelity
- - Abandonment
- - Insanity
- - Impotence
- - Imprisonment
You do not need to claim that any of these things happened. Similarly, situations requiring a criminal defense lawyer will not affect property division. Instead, judges will focus their decision primarily on economics.
How Is Property Divided in a Divorce in Washington?
Property division begins by classifying property. Separate assets belong to you. But a court can still take them from one spouse and give them to the other in certain situations.
Community assets that could get divided in case of divorce include:
- - Homes
- - Vehicles
- - Bank accounts
- - Stocks, bonds, and other investments
- - Family businesses
- - Retirement accounts
- - Pensions
- - Vacation properties
A property's classification can be subject to change. If you used marital property to make mortgage payments on a home you bought before the marriage, you might have converted its classification.
After classifying each asset, the court needs to know its value. You will present financial data showing how much you paid and how much it is worth. Finally, the court will hear evidence about your relationship and the economic situation of each spouse.
You should present evidence about any inequities, such as working to pay for your spouse's college education while forgoing your own. Based on all this information, the court will make a fair and equitable division of your property interests.
Why Choose Hodgson Law Office as Your Property Division Attorney in Spokane?
When you look for an attorney to represent you during your divorce, you need someone familiar with property division laws. You need an attorney with experience in Eastern Washington courts.
Your asset division attorney will take the time to understand your marital assets and customize a plan to get the best possible distribution when the court divides property.
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At Hodgson Law Office, We Help Clients Fight for the Property They Deserve
Who gets to stay in the house during a divorce in Washington state?
This decision depends on several factors, including:
- Who stayed in the house during a legal separation
- Whether staying is in the best interests of the children
- Who can afford to pay for it
Courts rarely force spouses to sell their family home.
Is Washington a 50-50 state for divorce?
Washington is a 50-50 state. 50-50 is used interchangeably with community property because judges divide community assets equitably. This does not mean you and your spouse will get exactly 50% of your marital property. Instead, the judge will look at each spouse's economic situation, including spousal maintenance, when dividing property.
Am I responsible for my spouse's debt in Washington state?
Debts can be separate or community property. When the court performs the property division, the court will also conduct a division of debts. The same rules apply to debts as property. Courts identify the couple's liabilities, classify them, and then distribute them in a fair and equitable way.