Washington Marital Agreement Lawyer
Marital agreements have become popular with couples over the past several years. If a couple decides to divorce, the agreement could address important issues such as property and asset division as well as future financial support.
A Washington marital agreement lawyer can draft an agreement that could streamline the divorce process. This can help make any divorce or challenges to the marriage be resolved as easily as possible. A capable divorce attorney could work towards a favorable outcome for you.
Types of Marital Agreements
There are several types of marital agreements a couple may opt for. They are:
- Prenuptial agreements – prepared and signed prior to marriage
- Postnuptial agreements – executed during marriage
- Separation agreements – an agreement that is made just prior to a divorce proceeding
- Settlement agreements – once divorce papers are filed with the court, these agreements address similar issues as a separation agreement
Marital agreements can be complicated documents and may not be enforceable if they are improperly written. The laws could be confusing to the average person. A knowledgeable Washington marital agreement lawyer could explain the law and help create a solid contract.
What Does Community Property Mean?
Washington follows a community property method for asset division. This means that property obtained during the marriage is jointly held and therefore subject to division by the court. Separate properties are assets acquired by an individual prior to the date of marriage. The term property includes:
- Bank accounts
- Real estate, including the marital home
- Retirement benefits
- Interests in businesses
- Life insurance
- Tax refunds
- Debts, regardless of which spouse incurred it
In the absence of a marital agreement that addresses property division, Washington courts typically divide community property as equally as possible.
Common Law Marriages
Common law marriages are not recognized in Washington. A common law marriage is where a couple lives together for a statutory period and hold themselves as legally married. Since these unions are not considered valid marriages in Washington, divorce laws do not apply.
However, Washington does recognize domestic partnerships where a couple lives together in a committed intimate relationship. These unions may be dissolved under a process similar to divorce.
Washington is a no-fault divorce state. When a spouse files for divorce it is not necessary to specify a reason, such as infidelity or abuse. The term irreconcilable differences is used instead. Courts do not consider marital misconduct when dividing assets or awarding spousal support.
Legal Separation in Washington
If a couple does not want to dissolve a marriage through divorce but wishes to live apart, they may file for a legal separation. Once the proper paperwork is filed, the court will issue a decree of legal separation. The decree specifies the rights and duties of each spouse while they are married but living apart.
How a Washington Marital Agreement Attorney Could Help
The laws that apply to marital agreements in Washington can be complex. There are terms that are not permitted in some types of agreements. A well-drafted agreement could protect your rights while a poorly drafted agreement may be unenforceable.
You need help from an experienced Washington marital agreement lawyer. A knowledgeable attorney could explain your rights under the law, offer options suitable for your unique situation, and draft a well-written agreement.