In Washington, the legal standard for the division of property and debts is not to divide things equally. At first glace, you might think that it should be. However, the legislature has determined that is not the standard to be used by the courts. An equal division of assets could result in the forced sale of assets and also an unfair result considering all of the circumstances of the parties.

Equity

In Washington the legal standard is the division of assets and liabilities that results in a fair and equitable division. If the parties cannot decide what this is, then the court will divide things as the court deems fair and equitable.

If the two spouses have equal standards of living (income and expenses) at the time of divorce, an equal division of assets may be fair. If however they do not have equal standards of living (one has been a homemaker while the other has advanced their career), one may require a greater share of the property to cushion the income loss they will suffer after the divorce. In that situation, the court may deem it fair and equitable to give that spouse a greater than equal division of the assets.