Understanding Community Property Division Laws In Washington

Divorcing couples are often concerned about the future. In addition to the many emotional components of a divorce, the very practical elements, such as post-divorce finances, may play a role in the level of confidence a spouse may feel about his or her decisions. While it is common for those who divorce to struggle for a time after losing each other’s income, this risk may be minimized if property division issues are handled correctly.

Washington laws consider nearly all assets a couple acquires during marriage to be community property. That includes both incomes, anything either spouse purchases with joint funds, and the interest or appreciation of investments or businesses. Without a prenuptial agreement, these and other assets will be split equally between the spouses during the property division phase of the divorce.

A spouse may claim as separate property any gifts he or she received individually during the marriage and any assets owned before the wedding. Community property also exempts inheritances that one spouse receives. However, if the spouse commingles any separate assets with community assets, such as using an inheritance to renovate a family home or depositing a monetary gift into a joint bank account, those assets become community property.

Even if a marriage lasts a short time, it may be difficult to determine which assets are individual and which are community property. When disputes arise, it may place one spouse at risk of losing his or her rights to certain assets. For the best chances of obtaining a fair and complete property division, many in Washington seek the experience of a family law attorney.

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The Law Offices of Stacy D. Heard, PLLC

Stacy Heard is an accomplished and well-respected family law attorney in Seattle, Washington who has served clients for over 20 years. Stacy specializes in matrimonial and family law. She handles matters of divorce, high-conflict parenting plan/child custody issues, international custody disputes and Hague Convention cases, complex financial issues, relocation, restraining orders, child support, and modifications of Parenting Plans and Child Support Orders.