Will the court divide everything 50/50 in a divorce?
Assets are an important part of marriage especially when it comes to property and equity. Washington is a ‘no fault’ state which means that the court will not be determining who is at fault; it would simply be called as a marriage which is ‘irretrievably broken’.
Washington State is a community property state which states that everything the couple owns or receives belongs to both spouses. Even if it is owned by one spouse. So if you are getting a divorce in Washington, know that your property will be divided among both of you. Likewise all debts will also be considered as community debt, both of you will be responsible for payment of that debt.
There are cases when the spouses would not want to split the property equally, for that matter you will have to work with your spouse on it. Both of you will have to mutually agree on splitting the property on your terms. If you somehow cannot come to an agreement on some property, there is still a good chance for getting property divided on your terms by convincing the court and giving it a good and equitable reason to do so.
The court divides the community and separate property both based on the amounts of each type of property, length of the marriage and each spouse’s economic condition.
If you gave up your assets or career opportunities to educate your spouse or help them start a business, there is a chance that you will be compensated and given the larger amount of community property as your share. Also, you might have a better chance of keeping the family home. If not, then the right to live in it at least. If you have children together then they get to stay with you most of the time.
It might come as devastation if your marriage ended because your spouse was having an affair because the court will not take into account the cheating to distribute the property unless community property or assets were wasted while being in the extra marital relationship. This is so because Washington is a no fault state and does not take into account the wrong doing of the spouses. The only way court will take into account the fault while dividing property would be if the spouse spends exuberant amounts of money in support of his behaviour and wrong doing. For instance if your spouse drains your mutual savings account or is in a habit of taking drugs, the court might look at your side of the story differently.
There have to be certain circumstances under which the court will allow you for alimony. Spousal maintenance is not designated to punish the high earning spouse but instead it was introduced to facilitate the low income spouse so as to support them and maintain the standard of living they were having while the marriage was still intact.
After the court divides your property, it will look at how you contributed in the marriage and your principal obligations after the divorce. Keeping in record all your financial transactions and current position. Also, the court will take into account the property you receive after division. It will also depend on your level of education and income potential. Additionally, your age and financial obligations will also be kept into account, your standard of living and the length of marriage.
Another thing that plays an important role in the division of property is your kids. If the kids are living with you, it is very likely that you get to keep the family home if it is financially possible. The court may grant the keeping spouse more property and fewer debts especially when the other spouse cannot provide for the kids. The court will also consider if there are no children involved and your previous standard of living. The court generally does not want a very wealthy or a very poor spouse. It will consider your age, work prospects, health and education.