Many states follow the equitable distribution method for asset division when couples divorce. Washington, however, sets community property as the rule of law, which can be a bit confusing to some. What is and what is not considered community property?
What qualifies as community property?
Property, debt and any income acquired over the course of a marriage by either spouse is community — or marital — property. This means it belongs to both parties. They own it equally and are equally responsible for it. Some common examples of community property include:
- Joint bank accounts
- Retirement accounts
- Real estate
- Credit card debt
- Student loan debt
The list is different for every couple, but these are some of the most commonly shared assets by divorcing couples in Washington.
What does not qualify as community property?
Community property laws do not apply to assets a person owns before getting married. They also do not typically apply to assets that are inherited during marriage or gifts made specifically to one spouse. Those who believe they have property that should be considered separate and not shared may want to speak with a legal professional to clarify.
Dividing assets is one of the hardest parts of the divorce process for many couples. No one wants to feel taken advantage of or walk away with less than they deserve. Experienced family law attorneys can provide more information about community property laws and asset division, as well as offer guidance for achieving a fair and balanced divorce settlement.