Couples often wonder how divorce will affect their shared property. Washington is a community property state, which means that all property and debt acquired during a marriage belong equally to both partners and must be split between them. But does this split need to be exactly even?
In Washington, state law requires judges to split property in a “just and equitable” manner. This means that the division of property has to be fair, but not necessarily equal. There is no requirement that each partner receive the same amount of money, property, or other assets.
When a court determines the division of property, it will attempt to do so in an equitable manner. To reach an equitable result, the court will consider the length of the marriage, the amount of community property compared with separate property, the needs of each spouse to care for children, and the ability of each spouse to care for his or herself after the divorce is finished.