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How does property division work in Washington?

If you are filing for divorce, you are probably wondering what will happen to your property and money. How much you get to keep and what your spouse is entitled to is largely determined by Washington law.

Washington has it’s own set of community property laws, meaning that all assets and debts you acquire during marriage belong to both of you equally.

What is marital property?

 Community property typically includes:

  • Either spouse’s earnings during the marriage, including capital gains, retirement benefits and investment interest.
  • Property either of you obtains with community funds.
  • Property either of you obtains with earnings during the marriage.

Generally, anything earned after the date of marriage is subject to property division.

What property is separate? 

Some assets are considered separately owned. This may include items purchased before marriage, gifts to only one of you and inheritances. However, it is possible for there to be some confusion about what counts as separate or community property. Sometimes, an asset that begins as separate may become community property if it is commingled with marital funds.

What factors are evaluated during property division?

The court will look at various details when dividing property, including the duration of your marriage and financial circumstances. Additionally, Washington is a no-fault state in regards to divorce, meaning that having an affair or other behaviors that may cause the end of your marriage do not factor into property division.

Working together

It is possible to come up with your own property division agreement with your spouse. This allows you to determine what is fair instead of letting the court interpret the law for your situation. However, not all couples are able to do this without the help of an attorney or the courts.

This information is not legal advice – it is only for educational purposes.