When going through a divorce, dividing your property and assets is one of the most important parts of the process. However, this is also one of the more confusing parts in the process.
All property division is dependent on the concept of community and marital property, but what does this mean for you?
Marital And Community Property Definitions
Marital property is defined as all possessions (including ownership interests and accounts as well as debts) that are acquired during the time of your marriage. Things excluded from marital property can include gifts that were given to only one spouse, anything obtained prior to marriage and any inheritances received. In short, anything you bought and any account you opened is considered marital and therefore community property and will be divided during your divorce.
The concept of community property is somewhat unique to the state of Washington. This means that all marital property is considered community property and is divided equally rather than equitably during the divorce process.
Equal vs. Equitable
The next concept you’ll need to understand is equal vs. equitable. States that practice community property laws, like Washington, divide their community property equally, or 50/50. That means that property, assets and accounts are generally split equally down the middle. States under equitable distribution will consider many different factors when dividing property, rather than splitting them in half, so to speak.
However, this concept can still be difficult to navigate. An experienced divorce attorney can give you a better idea of your situation and more information about community property laws in Washington.