Along with hammering out a parenting plan and sorting out child support issues, property division issues are on of the most contentious issues in any divorce.
As part of an action for the dissolution of a marriage, the Washington Court must determine the division of property. The standard the Court uses is not necessarily an equal division of the assets, but a fair and equitable division, considering all of the circumstances.
The Court must first determine what the assets consist of. The Court has jurisdiction over both community and separate property of the parties. Separate property is what was owned prior to the marriage, or received during the marriage as a result of a gift or inheritance. Any other asset acquired during the marriage will be presumed to be community property.
The Court must also value the assets in order to determine a fair division. Typically real estate must be appraised and pension or retirement benefits must be evaluated by an actuary to determine its present value.
The Court will consider many factors in dividing the assets, including the length of marriage, the economic circumstances of each party, the terms of spousal maintenance, if any, and any other relevant factor.
Please see the following articles to see specific information on the division of the family home and retirement benefits.
A family law attorney can advise you on what assets are subject to division and how they can be properly valued and divided to protect your interests.