Whether your marriage lasted a couple years or several decades, you will likely face some form of property division during the divorce process. Property division can include marital assets such as the matrimonial home, vehicles, a family business or item collections developed by you and your spouse. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for these processes to become complicated by numerous factors.
After the divorcing couple has clearly determined what is marital and what is non-marital, the process of property division begins. While every divorce is unique, there are common factors that could lead to lengthy discussions and challenging negotiations, including:
- Debt responsibility: Since Washington is a community property state, the court will make every effort to ensure the property division is equal. This means taking a detailed look at the full financial picture which includes debt responsibility. Over the course of the marriage, the couple will likely share debt such as a joint credit card, vehicle loans or medical debt. These debts will be carefully assessed when proceeding through property division.
- Digital assets: While the majority of the property division process will focus on physical assets such as the car, the home or a prized book collection, digital assets are becoming more important than ever. In the last decade, individuals and families alike have placed more emphasis on online property than ever before. An entertainment collection made up of thousands of hours of books, movies, music and videogames, or a digital storefront such as eBay or Facebook Marketplace can be valuable commodities that deserve careful treatment during the property division phase of your divorce.
- Intangible financial assets: Additionally, the couple must address intangible financial assets such as income, deferred compensation, dividends and other funds such as a retirement account. The couple can make an argument regarding the division of these funds, but there must be a strong reason for the unequal split.
It is wise to work with an experienced family law attorney from start to finish in your divorce. A lawyer can answer your questions and provide the guidance and insight you need.