Seattle Division of Property Attorney
The process of dividing property and assets can be stressful and confusing if you’re in the middle of a divorce or legal separation case. Various factors come into play before a court divides property between divorcing spouses. For this reason, it is always advisable to hire a Seattle division of property attorney who is familiar with the process.
The state of Washington classifies the property of a married person as either community property or separate property. Community property means that the assets and debts acquired during marriage before separation are divided equally between a separating or divorcing couple. On the other hand, separate property refers to property and assets acquired by either spouse before or after marriage.
What Is Community Property?
Community property classifies all the property and assets accumulated during the marriage as belonging to both spouses. Community property may include but is not limited to the following:
- The marital home
- 401k accounts
- Any other debts or assets acquired during the marriage
What Is Separate Property?
Separate property classifies all the property and assets accumulated before or after the marriage as belonging to the spouse who acquired it. Even so, there are circumstances where the court factors in separate property in the final and overall property division.
This is because the court considers the economic circumstance of each spouse when they separate or divorce. For example, suppose the court determines that one spouse wouldn’t be financially stable after the division of community property. In that case, the court may decide to award some of the separate property belonging to the spouse who is in a better financial position to the other spouse.
However, this situation is quite rare. Normally, the court awards each spouse their own separate property.
It can also be difficult to classify a property as separate property if it was acquired during the marriage but does not qualify under the community property statute. For this reason, a ZafiroLaw Seattle division of property attorney can help you determine the character of a property and guide you on how to prove the property’s separate character.
Separate property may include but is not limited to the following:
- Real estate
- Bank accounts
How Is Property Divided in Washington State?
There are several steps involved in the division of property in the state of Washington. They include:
Classification of Property and Assets
The court will need to classify each property and asset as either community or separate property. The problem usually arises if one spouse wants to protect their separate property, while the other spouse wants the property classified as community property. Again, a Seattle division of property attorney will help secure your best interests in the disposition of such property.
Valuation of Property and Assets
This is one of the most contentious issues in a divorce or separation case. For instance, suppose you and your spouse can’t agree on the value of property and assets jointly owned. In that case, it’s best to hire a financial expert or forensic accountant to determine the value of each property and asset classified as community property.
There are instances where the sale of the property is the best way to determine its value if you or your spouse don’t agree with the forensic valuation of the property. But, if one party doesn’t want to sell the property, the court may intervene to review the forensic valuation report and make a final decision. This mostly happens when both spouses decide to hire their own forensic experts and the experts’ reports conflict with each other.
Division of Property and Assets
In Washington, the law requires a just and equitable division of property. But this does not mean that the property and assets will be divided equally among the separating couple. In other words, the court has to fairly determine the case with all factors considered.
In some cases, the court awards the spouse with less income a bigger share of the property to sustain themselves after the marriage. This may even mean awarding the spouse with less income some separate property belonging to the other spouse. However, beware that the court won’t consider any marital fault when dividing properties and assets between spouses.
What Factors Are Considered in the Division of Property?
The following factors may be considered by the court when dividing property:
- Type and nature of community property
- Type and nature of the separate property
- How long the marriage lasted
- The income status of each spouse at the time of the separation or divorce case
There are rare circumstances where the court decides to award both parties the joint maintenance of assets and debts. It can also choose not to divide all property and assets but instead provide rules that determine how to divide the properties in a given timeline.
How A Seattle Division of Property Attorney Can Help In Cases Involving Division of Property & Assets
At ZafiroLaw, a Seattle division of property attorney will help you understand your rights and options, ultimately getting you the best possible outcome. They’ll perform an in-depth review of your family finances and ensure you receive what you’re entitled to. Our division of property attorneys can also mediate between you and your spouse, helping you reach an agreement on how to divide your properties and assets.
Looking for a reliable and experienced division of assets lawyer in Seattle or the surrounding cities such as Bellevue, Renton, Kent, Redmond and the entire Snohomish County? Call us at 206-547-9906 or contact us online today!