Washington Division of Assets Lawyer
If you are contemplating divorce or have already started the process, you may benefit from consulting an experienced Washington division of assets lawyer. Ending a relationship is an emotionally charged time, even if the split is amicable. There is a lot at stake and you may be confused about what assets you can take with you as you start a new chapter in your life.
A knowledgeable divorce attorney could help streamline the process. The law can be confusing, and the process of dividing assets and debts may seem overwhelming. A lawyer who understands the court system and the legal process can help by explaining the community property law and how it may affect you, negotiating and preparing agreements, preparing you for hearings and other court appearances, and drafting motions and other documents for court.
Washington Laws That Govern Division of Assets
Washington courts follow community property rules. Assets and debts acquired during a marriage are the property of both spouses, regardless of how ownership is titled. For example, stocks purchased, or a loan acquired individually by one spouse during the marriage belongs to both spouses.
Property that was acquired prior to the marriage is considered separate property and a court will likely attribute those assets to the individual. The value of the community property may be divided in an equitable fashion, typically half and half.
A family court judge in Washington has broad discretion to divide property and liabilities as they see fit. A judge may divide all assets and debts, including those acquired prior to the marriage. This may result in an uneven division of assets, especially in a lengthy proceeding where the character of both spouses may be at issue. A Washington division of assets lawyer could advocate on an individual’s behalf in pursuit of a more fair and even outcome.
Dividing Assets and Debts
Courts rarely order assets liquidated to effectuate an even division. For example, the marital home may be given to one spouse to allow the children to continue living there. To offset this, the other spouse may receive another asset that is roughly equal to the value of the marital home.
Some of the general guidelines courts attempt to follow are:
- Award property to the spouse who requests it uses it or acquired it
- Allow the custodial parent to stay in the marital home with the children
- Attribute property and associated liabilities to the spouse who can afford the debt
- Award property and the associated liens together to prevent default through non-payment
Some Common Exceptions to Communal Property Division
Courts will most likely divide assets and debts based on whether it was separate property or community property. Most of the time the individual keeps separate property and community property is divided evenly. However, there are some common exceptions:
- Comingled property
- Community property finances used to purchase items after separation
- Assets and debts acquired by a couple who behave as a married couple prior to marriage
- Gifts given to one spouse
Speaking with a Washington Division of Assets Attorney
If you are faced with dividing your assets and debts, you need the advice of a well-informed Washington division of assets lawyer. Attempting to navigate the complexities of this area of law could be frustrating and costly without guidance. A knowledgeable attorney could help you avoid the many pitfalls that exist for the unwary.
There are many nuances associated with asset and debt division. You can only benefit from consulting a lawyer who is familiar with the court system. A knowledgeable divorce attorney is ready to help.