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Protect Your Financial Future When Dividing Your Property

One of the most complex challenges in a divorce is dividing property and assets between you and your spouse. Everyone needs a skilled attorney to advocate for their best financial interests in this area.

Northwest Family Law, P.S., represents clients in King and Snohomish counties who need assistance obtaining favorable property division arrangements. Because our firm solely practices family law, we have an exceptional understanding of divorce in Washington state. No matter what type of divorce you are going through, we can work to obtain a property distribution arrangement that protects your future finances.

What Is Community Property, And How Will It Affect Me?

Washington is a community property state. This means that our courts divide marital property — the property and assets acquired during the marriage — “fairly” between both parties.

What’s fair? There is no simple answer.

It is not a simple nor effortless process. Especially in Washington. We are one of only nine states that is a ‘community property’ state.

‘Community property’ in a divorce setting means that only the property either spouse acquired during the marriage is required to be ‘split.’ Property a spouse brought into the marriage with them is exempt from the ‘marital pile,’ but still must be “fairly” allocated in a divorce.

Marital property can include:

Those assets could be:

  • Bank account(s)
  • Property
  • Vehicles
  • Businesses

Unsurprisingly, it gets complicated, especially where there is not ready agreement on who gets what.

Dividing A Business In A Divorce

If you and your spouse do not wish to co-own your business after a divorce, you may have to divide it. If you cannot reach an arrangement through mediation or arbitration, then your case may proceed to trial. The court considers numerous factors when dividing a business, such as:

  • Who controlled its day-to-day operations
  • Who contributed to it financially
  • Whether the business was founded before or after the marriage
  • The increase or decrease in value during the marriage

Northwest Family Law, P.S., can represent you in negotiations or at trial. When you schedule a consultation with us, we can examine your case and help you understand what to expect.

Ask About Property Division

There are many exceptions to be particularly wary of while trying to put together an inventory of assets. For example, the bank account you had long before you were married and kept for years after is exempt . . . unless, at any point during the marriage, it was commingled with your soon to be ex’s bank account. What constitutes commingling is an almost bewildering number of seemingly unrelated events.

An inheritance you received before the marriage is exempt. But may not be if you used it for a down payment on the house you and your ex bought together,

Debts, of courses, are treated the same way and are just as potentially complex.

When the assets of the marriage are compiled they are to be distributed ‘fairly.’ Fair does not mean equal. Fair and equal when it comes to property division are not the same thing.

To be fair, the court will consider many variables – past, present, and future.

They will include:

  • Length of the marriage
  • Prenuptial agreement
  • Income of both spouses
  • Educational and health needs – present and future
  • Potential earnings after the marriage
  • Special needs

There are a lot of variables, it can be complicated, it’s a potential source of conflict.

Thankfully, divorcing spouses have an opportunity to work it out with their attorneys and, often, professionals like mediators, appraisers or accountants rather than let the court decide.

There is plenty of leeway to make an agreement that works for both parties.

The attorneys and staff at Northwest Family Law have the experience and knowledge to ensure achieve that “fair outcome” with a minimum of stress.