One of the primary concerns a person may have during divorce is what will happen to his or her stuff. If you are facing the likelihood of your marriage ending, you also probably have concerns about what this means for your financial well-being and economic standing in the future. It is crucial to secure a final order that allows you to have stability and security for the duration.

A key component in this is a fair and reasonable division of marital property. You may find it beneficial to understand your rights about what you can keep – and what you may may have to give up or split. Knowing this information ahead of time can make it easier to protect your interests and allow you to negotiate terms with confidence.

What is marital property?

Marital property is anything accumulated, bought or earned over the course of the marriage. In Washington, all marital property is subject to the state’s community property division laws in the event of a divorce – meaning it will be split 50-50. But spouses may also choose to negotiate on how to divide these assets and money.

Separate property includes certain assets that are not eligible for division in a divorce. These are typically assets a spouse had before marriage but may include the following items:

  • Gifts given specifically to one spouse or inheritance received by one spouse during or after a marriage
  • Property the spouses defined as separate per the terms of a legal contract, such as a prenuptial agreement
  • Awards given to one spouse from a personal injury claim
  • Property acquired by one spouse, kept solely under his or her name, and not used by the other spouse
  • Assets purchased by one spouse using separate money

Disputes often arise between spouses regarding the nature of specific assets and whether they are separate or marital assets. Fights over money and property are common during a divorce, but when you know exactly what’s what, you may be able to avoid some of this complication.

Your future

Your financial future is at stake during a divorce. The things you decide and include in your agreement will affect you for years to come. This is why it is important for you to proceed thoughtfully and carefully, and it is also why you may find it beneficial to work with an experienced legal ally at every step of the divorce process.