Property division in Washington state involves categorizing your property into two categories: separate and community. You will typically keep any separate property you have and divide the community property between you and your spouse in the event of a divorce.
However, you may also have a third type of asset called commingled property. Determining if and how you will divide commingled assets can be complicated for a few reasons.
They can require more investigation
Commingled assets are property that started as separate but mixed in with marital or your spouse’s separate property. When you mix these, it can be very difficult to trace the separate property to categorize it as such.
Because of this, you may need to work with legal and financial professionals throughout the process and track down receipts and other documentation.
Successfully tracing these assets can mean keeping separate property; failure to trace commingled property means it will be treated as belonging to the community and divided per law guidelines.
They can invite contention
Divorce is already emotional and complicated. Adding in the complications of property tracing and disputes over contributions can make the situation that much more stressful.
However, you can minimize the disruptions and combativeness when dealing with commingled assets in several ways. You can keep a solid paper trail of your separate property and funds, making tracing much more manageable. And again, you can also leave the financial investigation to experienced professionals.
They can affect other elements of the split
The treatment of commingled assets can affect other elements of your divorce, including spousal support and child support. Individual economic circumstances can dramatically influence support calculations and assessments.
In other words, whether you keep or divide a valuable commingled asset makes a difference in creating fair and appropriate support orders.
Understanding these complications that can arise when you are divorcing with commingled funds or property can help you plan accordingly and avoid making costly mistakes.