Washington is a community property state. This has very important implications in divorce cases. In community property states, most of the property of a couple is considered jointly owned. When a divorce happens, it is split equally among the parties. However, this also includes debts. In a nutshell, community property states treat marriage property as if it was a business relationship.
This is why it is very important to understand all of your assets and your debts before considering a divorce. You may end up with a far larger bill than expected. For instance, if your spouse has medical debt and you divorce, you may be required to split that debt as part of the divorce settlement. However, the intricacies of how particular kinds of assets are split will vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. No two states are the same.
Thus, retaining the services of an experienced family law lawyer is essential if you live in a community property state like Washington. You must be aware of the potential financial risk you expose yourself to in a divorce and what your legal options are for protection. Your investments could be at risk if a full divorce goes through, and it may be in your best interests to settle through mediation instead.
If you live in Washington and want help in understanding what the community property laws might mean in your situation, contact Elise Buie Family Law Group, PLLC for advice. We can help.