Hello. My name is Scott Johnson.
In this episode of the Financial Success Academy, on Divorce, I'll discuss how marital assets are generally divided by the court, when divorcing in the state of Washington.
In part one of this five-part series on the important things that you should know if going through a divorce, I'll explain what to expect when dividing up assets with your spouse.
Unfortunately, we receive a number of calls every month that go like this: "Scott, it looks like I'm getting a divorce. What do I need to know?"
Now, I know from personal experience that going through a divorce, no matter how amicable it may be, is a very stressful experience.
We hope that if you find yourself in a divorce, that you will lean heavily on us at DecisionPoint to help you through the process.
Washington is a community property, or 50-50 divorce state. This means that unless the property is considered separate, all income assets, property, and debts accumulated during the marriage are subject to equal division. Regardless of who secured the asset or how much each party has earned during the marriage. Separate property is considered any property or asset owned before the marriage, as well as inheritances given to only one spouse. However, if separate property has been co-mingled with the community property, dividing it can be especially complex.
Your community property may be divided by the court or through negotiation, but the process will be similar to this:
First, each asset, property, and debt will be characterized as either community or separate.
Second, a value will be assigned to each asset and property. This can be done by either selling it or having an expert appraise it.
And lastly, assets, property, and debts are divided between the parties.
Now Washington's community property law dictates that assets should be evenly distributed among spouses. However, they don't have to be. The following situations can prevent a couple from having to split community property equally. One, a pre-nuptial or post-nuptial agreement that ensures certain assets remain separate in the event of a divorce, or two, you and your spouse reach an agreement on splitting assets.
I hope you found this video helpful. Please watch our other videos covering additional important topics on divorce.
Again, if you have specific questions about any of this information, please call our office and we'll be happy to talk about your specific situation.