Most states across the country operate under equitable property division guidelines when married couples decide to end their marriages. Divorce can be complex, and may cause tempers to flare if spouses disagree about who owns what or how assets and liabilities should be split between them. Washington operates under community property rules, which means the court views marital assets as jointly owned and debts as jointly shared.
When speaking of splitting marital property, it is often the value of a particular asset that is in question. One obviously cannot split a house in half, for instance, so the court considers the value of the home, then makes its decision accordingly. Most property or ownership interests acquired during marriage are considered marital property in a Washington divorce. There are some exceptions.
Marital assets not only include homes, vehicles, etc., but also income, investments, retirement benefits and more. Some property may be separately owned, such as that which was acquired by a party prior to the marriage or in accordance with the terms contained in a valid prenuptial agreement. Additional separate ownership might be established if, for instance, an inheritance was given to one spouse only during a marriage.
Sometimes, a spouse who wishes to gain the upper hand in divorce proceedings may try to hide assets. Any person who believes he or she has evidence to prove his or her ex is attempting a hidden asset scheme will want to bring that evidence to the court’s attention. In Washington, an experienced family attorney can explain just how to do so, and also assist in gaining the evidence necessary to document this illegal act in family court.