Experienced Family Law Advocacy

Dividing Assets, Multiple Assets Or A Business

There is no way of avoiding the division of property after a divorce. The court seeks to make a “fair and equitable division.” This does not mean that the property is divvied up into exactly two piles. It means that everything is valued, and then the dynamics of the marriage and each spouse’s contributions are taken into consideration.

I am attorney Tyler L. Merrill. As an experienced family law attorney in Seattle, I know that losing any portion of what you’ve worked so hard to acquire can feel like a punch in the gut. This is especially true if you also feel you were wronged or betrayed in the marriage. I can help you understand Washington property division splits and what to expect. I can also work as your aggressive advocate should assets not be accurately valued or fairly divided.

The Difference Between Separate And Community Property

In Washington, the court views the assets in marriage as either separate, meaning belonging to one person, or community, meaning that both spouses own the asset. A prenuptial or postnuptial agreement can affect the way assets are divided.

  • Separate property typically includes property acquired before the marriage, money won in a personal injury lawsuit or another civil suit, inherited assets or property, and separate monetary accounts that were not part of the marriage. In some cases, property that was acquired to intentionally belong to one person will be considered separate.
  • Community property typically includes a business that both spouses supported, property acquired during the marriage, houses, cabins, boats, cars and vacation property including timeshares, and any investments, including retirement accounts, that were made during the marriage.

It should be noted that most debts are also considered community debt. In rare cases, a judge requires only one party to repay debts. This is typically only done if one spouse, without the knowledge or consent of the other, “squanders” assets. Only in these rare cases will the behavior of one spouse affect property division. This is known as the “dissipation of assets.”

When a marriage includes a business, multiple properties, inventions, royalties or patents, an accurate assessment of the value of these needs to be undertaken. Some assets will increase or decrease dramatically in value over time. This potential needs to be ascertained for a fair division of the assets to happen.

Let Me Help You Get A Truly Equitable Division Of Assets

If you are concerned about the way the assets in your marriage will be divided, I can help. As an attorney with an abundance of experience in divorce, I understand asset division. Call 206-627-4436, and let’s have a conversation about how the division of property works in Seattle. I offer a free 30-minute consultation so that you can meet me and get your top-priority questions answered. You can also send me a brief summary of your situation, and I will get in touch about options and next steps.