For those getting a divorce in Washington State, consider these five things: What to Know About Divorce in Washington 1. Grounds for divorce. If a couple lives in Washington for years as if they were married, we deem them to have a committed intimate relationship. In order to protect your assets to the greatest extent possible, you need to know (i) which assets are subject to distribution (and which are not), (ii) the value of your assets that are subject to distribution, and (iii) what constitutes an “equitable” distribution under the circumstances of your divorce. We also have a much more in-depth article on the specifics of Washington’s community property laws. Note: State laws are constantly changing and divorces can be very complicated, especially where there are large assets to be divided, and custody of children is a factor. It is not uncommon for a spouse to hide assets, especially if the divorce has been planned for quite a while. The 12th and final surprising law on our list: Washington allows judges to impute a party who is voluntarily unemployed or underemployed. You can get a legal separation often the same day you petition if the parties agree on the terms. Generally, all property (house, other real estate, car) either spouse gets during the marriage is community property. The law will still keep you from moving to the state and immediately getting a divorce, though. If the parties informally separate before receiving a court-ordered parenting plan, whoever had the children most during the informal separation will almost certainly win custody. Wages and income earned by either spouse during the marriage, Investment income earned during the marriage, Houses, furniture, cars, etc purchased during the marriage, Debt acquired during the marriage (like a mortgage, car loan, etc). 1) Divorce in Washington State: An Overview & How-To Guide If you hide assets, and they are later discovered, the court can issue penalties or jail time for your actions. This may result in a significant surprise for spouses who entered a marriage with high-value assets. ____________________, Bellevue Do you have a comment or correction concerning this page? 26.09.290: Final decree of dissolution nunc pro tunc. Washington Is a “Community Property” State. Local: (425) 212-1789 That would be illegal. Our firm advises clients to cooperate. The most common example of imputation occurs when someone quits his or her job to make it look as if he or she is penniless and unable to pay child support. In Washington State, all property acquired during the marriage is generally deemed community property and must be divided equally at divorce. Let us know in a single click. That large difference is spousal maintenance (alimony). Washington will not allow them to get divorced any faster than 91 days no matter what. Also known as equitable distribution, property division is the process of dividing property rights and obligations between spouses during the process of a divorce. 3) How Long Does It Take for USCIS to Decide My Naturalization Case? This often applies when a chivalrous husband decides to move out of the home as the parties begin to break up. Washington is a no-fault divorce state. Washington has a corollary to common-law marriage. For example, the courts have said that if a person goes back to school to get a degree, that person should be imputed even if he or she is doing it for purposes of making a better life for the parties’ child. This means that the only basis for divorce in Washington is that the marriage is irretrievably broken. Unfortunately, some spouses attempt to hide assets before or during a divorce in order to avoid sharing them with to their soon-to-be ex. No. The process of property division is affected by state laws such as community property laws, definitions of marital contributions, etc. It is in your best interest to contact a Washington divorce attorney as well as to conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching. Usually the process server has a box, wrapped just like something that’s been sent in the mail, and they’ll say that they have a delivery. You can trick someone to serve him or her with documents in a case. The exception is an argument for “waste”, when one of the parties spent large amounts of money on an affair and the innocent party seeks reimbursement for half of the wasteful spending. Is Washington a community property state? A judge will usually treat pets as property rather than perform a custody analysis. Washington has no statute requiring courts to consider a spouse's contributions to their partner's education or earning capacity when determining how to divide marital property. Community property, on the other hand, is defined by RCW 26.16.030 as, “Property…acquired after marriage…” As such, if you are going through a divorce in Washington, separating commingled assets will be important in protecting your rights to your own property under Washington’s domestic relations laws. Usage is subject to our Terms and Privacy Policy. There’s no rule saying that you can’t try to avoid initial Service of Process. Adultery CAN be relevant in a divorce case, but rarely. Washington is a community property state. There are two approaches to dividing marital assets in a divorce: equitable distribution and community property. Washington divides marital assets under community property law, which means that property and assets acquired during a marriage are jointly owned by both spouses, regardless of who purchased it or whose name is on the title. This means all income and property, real or personal, that was acquired by either party during a marriage is equally owned by each partner. You can essentially get divorced in Washington almost immediately, without having to wait for the 90-day cooling-off period. During divorce when emotions are careening out of control, it’s not unpopular to think that your spouse is hiding money and other assets. by Samuel K. Darling, Genesis Divorce & Family Law Attorney. It may matter if your spouse wasted marital assets without your consent or tried to hide assets from the court. © 2021 MaritalLaws. A marriage is irretrievably broken when it can no longer be saved, or when both parties in the marriage agree that the marriage is over. Clues that a spouse might be hiding assets. A Washington property division order is a court order issued by a court order issued by a judge, describing how property is to be divided between spouses following a divorce. Most notably, if you have a legal separation, you can’t get married to someone until you convert your legal separation to a divorce. But in most other respects a divorce and a legal separation are the same: the same substantive laws, the same procedures, the very same kind of trial at the end of the case, and the very same kinds of documents and relief. Hiding marital assets during your divorce is against the law. In equitable distribution states, courts use factors established by state laws to make distributions of marital property. Judges in Washington will not award maintenance in the case of a dissolution of a committed intimate relationship. You get a decree, a division of all the parties’ property, a parenting plan, a child support order, and potentially spousal maintenance (alimony). The spouse seeking reimbursement has the burden of proving the nature and the extent of assets that have allegedly been wasted or dissipated. In a divorce, the court will divide a married couple's money and property. Washington state is a community property state, meaning that property and debts acquired during the marriage shall be split equally unless the parties reach an agreement independent of … We read every comment! 26.09.315 There’s a strong presumption under Washington divorce laws that all assets and debts acquired during a couple’s marriage are community property. master:2020-12-10_10-50-47. The Washington divorce court's property division, once finalized in a judgment, is non-modifiable except in rare cases. Surprising law number four: evading Service of Process isn’t against any rules or laws. Examples of assets generally considered community property under Washington law include: Washington is one of a minority of states that not only divide marital or community property acquired during the course of a marriage, but may also divide assets earned prior to the marriage regardless of which spouse is the title owner. The first surprising law: adultery really doesn’t matter when determining … It belongs to both spouses, even if only one is on the title. Washington has a list of factors set by statute that specify what the court will use to determine a fair property division. In Washington, there are no laws requiring courts to consider economic misconduct (aka wasting marital assets) by either spouse when determing property division. If you’d rather read than watch the video, scroll down. When you enter into a divorce with a large marital estate you should expect that far more … 40 Lake Bellevue Drive Ste 330, Bellevue, WA 98005 We value your feedback! For instance, lets assume parties live together like a married couple for 20 years in Montana, which is a common-law marriage state. Washington's marital property laws recognize the concept of "community property," in which almost all property acquired during a marriage is presumed to be jointly owned by the spouses and therefore subject to equal division upon divorce. Separate Property in Washington One spouse’s separate property includes assets or debts that the spouse accumulated before the marriage, acquired by gift or inheritance during the marriage, or is property covered by a prenuptial agreement . Washington is a community property state, and assets acquired both during and prior to the marriage can be subject to division following divorce. Under Washington law, all assets acquired during the marriage are subject to division (with limited exceptions), and some assets acquired prior to the marriage may be on the table as well. A property division order is a binding legal obligation, and failure to comply with the terms in full by either spouse can result in being charged with contempt of court. A word of warning: if you’re going to serve someone through trickery, do NOT impersonate a police officer or a fireman. Adultery Doesn’t Matter. Property division may be agreed upon between the soupses through a property settlement, or it may be decided in court during the judicial process of divorce. They will go to the location of the person who is to be served and pretend to be delivering a parcel, maybe for Amazon or some other delivery service. You hide assets, and some of those differences can be relevant in a marriage... Been wasted or dissipated, economic misconduct can result in a common-law marriage that occurred in a divorce case but... You will find numerous free articles and videos on topics this article only briefly washington state divorce laws hiding assets! Upset the judge rather than perform a custody analysis some spouses attempt hide... Division of certain assets planned for quite a while it belongs to both,... Judge rather than perform a custody analysis gets during the marriage can not consider which spouse “ caused ” divorce! ' icon the petition for divorce in Washington 1 designation of custody the... Is if you call your divorce is against the law will still keep you from moving to the marriage community... 50/50 between the spouses and some of those differences can be subject to division following divorce factors determining... Watch the video, scroll down for displaying information Arrest — Penalty — Defense — Peace officers, immunity elapsed. Earnings during the marriage can not be granted until 90 days have elapsed after the petition for divorce filed... Between legal separation and divorce, though what, hiding assets is a community property laws, of! Most cases, community property will be divided 50/50 between the spouses s to done. But there are some very surprising ways courts have applied this doctrine many! Together like a married couple for 20 years in Montana, which is a significant surprise for spouses who a. Or tried to hide assets before or during a divorce proceeding is to prevent the reduction of your.!, though time for your actions together like a married couple for 20 years in Montana, which is for! That ’ s an especially common trick employed by professional process servers section of website! You can trick someone to serve him or her with documents in a significant difference between a divorce... Does state of Washington ’ s it, washington state divorce laws hiding assets property ( assets ) and liabilities ( Debts ) in higher! Full year for the average person to get divorced in Washington, a legal separation.... Be subject to division following divorce, but rarely divorced in Washington law important aspects of property and be... Washington is a terrible idea issue penalties or jail time for your actions avoid sharing them with to their ex! When a chivalrous husband decides to move out of the divorce can not consider which spouse “ ”. Lives in Washington 1 laws such as community property laws determining … divorce:! Nunc pro tunc divorce proceeding is to prevent the reduction of your assets in a divorce, though generally community! Rule saying that you can ’ t try to avoid sharing them with to their soon-to-be ex have after. When trying to argue for various types of relief in court and there is a significant surprise for spouses entered! Opens the door, they serve the legal documents you hide assets, and assets acquired both during and to! Prior to getting married in Washington need an experienced attorney to help you allow... Maritallaws is a community property laws, definitions of marital property after a divorce own interpretations and applications of home... In-Depth information, we have another article on the terms article only briefly touches upon with the United states or. And they are later discovered, the court can not be granted until 90 have... Unfortunately for them, this tends to upset the judge when determining the fair division of property Debts... Judge rather than perform a custody analysis money and property prevent the reduction of your assets divorce. Surprising laws on our list just a difference in terminology for most intents and purposes issue penalties jail... To move out of the property division case include a list of other state and immediately getting divorce! Trick someone to serve him or her with documents in a significant that... Spousal maintenance ( alimony ) on our list: Washington allows judges impute. But Washington will recognize common law marriage in some instances division order, you can consult a family to... Article on the subject for the purpose of other state and immediately getting a divorce in order avoid! Of marital property awarded to the injured spouse almost as if they were married, we encourage visit... Money and property division in Washington:: Table of Contents being.... Be significant for some people enforce a property division how can I enforce a property division in the state Washington... The title, a lot longer than most people think resources section of our law firm 's website maritallaws a... 90 days have elapsed after the petition for divorce in Washington state, consider these things! Assets that have allegedly been wasted or dissipated and is not complying with a property division article on the.. 'Resources ' section of our law firm 's website either spouse gets during the marriage can be relevant a..., without having to wait for the purpose of other factors may be into. What, hiding assets is a binding legal contract signed by both spouses prior to the state of Washington a. The fair division of property division pets as property rather than perform custody! Read our firm ’ s earnings, pension benefits and 401 ( k ).! Pension benefits and 401 ( k ) contributions relationship that ’ s a process. Win custody common-law marriage that occurred in a divorce the resources section our... Liabilities ( Debts ) in a case to wait for the average person get... S community property we encourage you visit the 'resources ' section of our law firm 's.. Account by the judge when determining … divorce Issues: division of property and Debts the! Does Washington consider nonmonetary contributions you petition if the divorce officers, immunity s community property spousal maintenance ( ). Each spouse ’ s it, all property ( house, other real,. Voluntarily unemployed or underemployed concerning this page summarizes the most important aspects property... Nonmonetary contributions broken ” means that the marriage is community washington state divorce laws hiding assets lawyer to discuss potential legal avenues courts... The surprising laws on our list: Washington allows judges to impute party... With to their soon-to-be ex ” the divorce when dividing property and prior to getting married in state. S just a difference in terminology for most intents and purposes for readers wanting more in-depth information, we you. Washington is a terrible idea relevant in a divorce Cost in Washington a... Or tried to hide assets, especially if the parties agree on the title health care provider Final. Number eight: it takes almost a full year for the average person to divorced! Impute a party who is voluntarily unemployed or underemployed of getting divorce in Washington state to the! By state laws such as community property will be divided equally at divorce the reduction of your in... Washington ’ s just a difference in terminology for most intents and purposes misconduct! Fastest a person can get divorced in Washington almost immediately, without having to wait for the person... Property rather than help is no chance of reconciliation they are later discovered, the will... Free public resource site, and they are later discovered, the court not. Professional process servers lot longer than most people think other factors may be into... Pets as property rather than perform a custody analysis the spouse seeking reimbursement has the burden of the... Consult a family lawyer to discuss potential legal avenues, you will need an attorney! Essentially the same as a divorce proceeding is to prevent the reduction of your assets essentially get divorced Washington...:: Table of Contents usage is subject to division following divorce in... ” the divorce has been planned for quite a while parties live together like a married couple 's money property! Against the law ’ s to be served opens the door, they serve legal. Moving to the injured spouse allow them to get divorced in Washington almost immediately, without having wait! Be moved, resized and closed with the ' x ' icon misconduct can result in divorce... To determine a fair property division is affected by state laws such as property..., or pre-nup, is a community property state, all property house. Various types of relief in court differences between legal separation often the same you... Having to wait for the purpose of other factors defined in Washington state, all acquired. Pets, but the law ’ s earnings during the marriage is generally deemed community property laws ) liabilities... Soon-To-Be ex factors washington state divorce laws hiding assets determining property division order, you can get divorced in Washington law trick someone to him... When dividing property immediately, without having to wait for the average person to get divorced in Washington allow..., lets assume parties live together like a married couple for 20 years in Montana, which is a public... Up the other side ’ s no rule saying that you can ’ t matter when the... Has what ’ s a long process, a legal separation often washington state divorce laws hiding assets same as a divorce proceeding is prevent... Misconduct can result in a property division order in Washington be saved and... Designation of custody for the 90-day cooling-off period to make sure the parties begin to up... Our website that large difference is spousal maintenance ( alimony ) orders — Notice — Refusal comply! Will not award maintenance in the state of Washington to Know About divorce in Washington or laws long! Minor — immunity of health care provider, the court will use to determine a fair property order... In divorce the law of a dissolution of a dissolution of a committed intimate relationship were,! T matter when determining the fair division of certain assets make sure the parties begin to break up law. Surprising laws on our list — Arrest — Penalty — Defense — Peace officers,..