The property division process may seem pretty simple on its face. After all, Washington is a community property state, which means that your marital assets will be divided in an equal fashion. But there are oftentimes complications in this process which, if left unaddressed, could leave you without the financial resources that you need and deserve post-divorce.
Assessing the marital estate
One major issue that divorcing individuals face in regard to property division is simply figuring out what all should be included in the marital estate, which can be more difficult than you’d think in a community property state. There are two big issues here, so let’s briefly look at each of them.
Individually owned assets
Assets that are deemed individually owned will be exempted from the property division process. Therefore, you’ll need to carefully assess all assets to determine if they should be lumped in with the marital estate. Even if your spouse owned a major asset like a home prior to marriage, you could gain an interest in it if the home has been maintained and improved with marital funds. The same analysis can apply to a family business.
Far too often people try to hide assets so that they can remove them from the marital estate and keep them for their own personal use post-divorce. To ensure that you’re not being cheated out of your fair share of these assets, you should work closely with a professional who can help you spot red flags of hidden assets and locate those assets so that they can be looped into the property division process.
Be prepared for your property division
There’s certainly a lot on the line when it comes to property division, which is why it’s important that you enter the process fully prepared. You should have a clear understanding of the assets in play and how you would like to see them divided. If you think that you could benefit from some assistance in this regard, then now may be the time to discuss your circumstances with a family law attorney of your choosing.