Washington Property Division Lawyer
The process of dividing property during a divorce involves complicated paperwork, sensitive negotiations, and difficult decisions that may affect your life for years to come. It is important to take every precaution possible to protect your best interests.
A Washington property division lawyer could assist you throughout the process by explaining the law, offering options, negotiating settlements, filing paperwork on your behalf, and appearing in court. They can help you reach a settlement that protects your assets and your interests.
Types of Property
Washington is a community property state. This means that all assets and debts acquired during the marriage belong to both spouses jointly. However, property that was accumulated prior to the marriage as an individual, as well as certain types of inheritances, may be treated as separate property.
The first step in dividing assets is to identify separate property and community property. Generally, certain assets acquired by individuals prior to marriage or assets that were accumulated individually during the marriage, such as an inheritance or gift, may be considered separate property if these assets were carefully kept separate from community assets.
How Property is Divided in Washington
The next step in dividing assets is to obtain values of separate property and community property. Many times, the parties disagree about the value of an asset and an expert is hired to provide this information. The court reviews the report and decides how to allocate the assets between the parties
In Washington, community property is divided between the parties in a “just and equitable” fashion. This means that the division is fair according to the couple’s situation. One spouse may receive a larger award if their earning potential is less than the other spouse. Sometimes the court will divide a portion of the separate property to the other spouse.
Factors Used to Divide Property
The court generally does not consider marital fault when dividing property. One factor that will be used to determine the division of property is the length of the marriage. In short-term marriages, the court may divide property so that the spouses return to a similar financial condition they had prior to the marriage.
Another factor the court considers is the economic condition of each spouse after the divorce. Property division is meant to equalize the financial situation of the spouses so that one spouse does not leave the marriage significantly better off than the other. For example, a spouse who did not work during the marriage because they were raising children or had a disability may be awarded a greater share of the marital property.
Modification of Agreements
Once a property agreement is finalized and made part of the divorce judgment, it is rarely modified. The only circumstance where modification may be granted is when assets have been omitted from consideration as part of the property division process. The court determines whether the omission was accidental or intentional and bases the ruling accordingly.
How a Washington Property Division Attorney Could Help
You may need assistance to help you navigate this critical stage in your life. Dividing property can be a complex and lengthy process. You may need a knowledgeable professional to stand by your side to help you create a thorough plan and avoid any of the pitfalls that can put your interests in jeopardy.
A seasoned Washington property division lawyer could explain how to identify separate and community property, provide options, explain some common pitfalls, and tailor a property division agreement to suit your individual needs.