3 Things To Keep In Mind About Assets When Divorcing In Washington State

While divorce is an emotional time, it's also important to pay attention to the practical and financial aspects of divorce. You need to know what you are facing when it comes to keeping or losing your home, vehicles, savings, and other assets. Sitting down with a qualified family law attorney, like one from Campbell, Dille, Barnett & Smith, P.L.L.C., is the best way to determine the details of your situation and how best to proceed, but it can be helpful to already have a good idea of what to expect. Here are three things to keep in mind:

Washington is a Community Property State

If you and your spouse are unable to come to your own legal agreement regarding how to divide your assets, the community property nature of Washington's divorce laws will kick in. This means the court will divide both assets and debts down the middle as long as they were acquired during your marriage.

Certain Assets are Usually Exempt from Community Property

Not everything is eligible to be divided down the middle in a Washington divorce. Here are the most frequent exemptions:

  • Any assets or debts you acquired before your marriage will remain yours when you divorce. For example, if you purchased a home on your own when you were single it will most likely still belong to you. In some cases, the equity that has built up since your marriage will be considered community property, however.

  • Inheritances, even those received during marriage, are typically yours to keep. This includes both money and property, and any income you receive from an inherited property.

Don't Overlook Alimony

Once you and your spouse or the court decides how your property will be divided and gets an agreement in writing, it will consider spousal support, also known as alimony. You may be entitled to spousal support under certain circumstances, and if you and your spouse do not come to an agreement about this on your own the court will make a decision after looking at several factors.

They will consider your education and earning potential, your age and health, the property you receive from the divorce, and your role in raising children. A common reason to be awarded spousal support is if you have contributed a majority of the non-paid work in the marriage (including child care and housekeeping), while your spouse has been the main breadwinner. Spousal support isn't meant to allow you to avoid working outside the home long-term, but rather to help you live at the same standard you're used to while you transition to post-divorce life.

By knowing the basics of how assets are divided in a Washington State divorce, you will be able to face your situation armed with facts and with a good idea of what to expect.