One of the most common sources of contention in the divorce process has to do with property distribution. Washington spouses often fight over who gets the house, the boat, the vacation time-share and any number of other big-ticket items, as well as minor assets that are more sentimental in value rather than monetary. Something every person considering divorce in this state should know is that the concept of equitable division does not apply here.

Washington is one of nine states in the nation that govern the divorce process under community property laws. Whatever belongs to both spouses in marriage is to be divided 50/50 when marital ties are severed. It’s not only your assets that get evenly split in divorce; it’s also debt.

Those who are aware of community property laws often enter prenuptial agreements before they wed in order to retain separate ownership of certain business interests, property, money or other assets. There’s also something called a postnuptial agreement that comes in handy for people who neglected to sign an agreement before marriage. Some people have neither contract in existence when it comes time to enter the divorce process.

This is when many challenges tend to arise. Taxes, retirement funds and inheritances are other important issues that can often impact the outcome of a particular divorce. By speaking with an experienced Washington family law attorney before heading to court, you may be able to avoid a lot of problems, especially when it comes to community property versus equitable division issues.

Source: FindLaw, “Divorce and Property“, Accessed on July 11, 2017