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How community property laws affect your divorce

If you are facing a divorce, one of the primary concerns you will be dealing with is that of property and asset division. Most married couples have accumulated at least some property and assets during their marriage, such as a house, vehicles, and possibly some other major possessions such as a boat or vacation home. 

Regardless of how much property you have accumulated during your married life, there will be a specific format that you will have to adhere to in terms of dividing your property and assets when you go through your divorce. How that process works depends on the state in which your divorce occurs.

Community property and your divorce

The list of states that have community property laws on the books is relatively small, comprising just nine states, including Washington. The law in Washington state defines community property as that which was acquired after the marriage, with some particular legal exceptions that your attorney can clarify for you. In general, however, assets you and your spouse acquire after you marry, for the purposes of divorce, belong to both of you. This rule also applies to any debt that you and your spouse accrued during the marriage. 

Property division in Washington state

When it comes to property division in a community property state such as Washington, the right strategy is of critical importance. Even if you and your spouse are planning to have an amicable divorce and you both agree on how to split up the assets, you should have a long-term vision and plan for unexpected events. Despite a collaborative approach, you need to ensure that you are looking out for your best interests and that you are able to cover your financial needs for the future. 

In the event of a contentious divorce, the stakes are even higher. Your spouse and his or her legal team may try to use complicated strategies to try to make the property division less favorable for you. However, do not forget that in a community property state, the court considers your marital assets as joint property. The judge will apply the parameters of this law to the asset division process during your divorce, if it goes to court.

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