Will One Spouse’s Reckless Spending Affect a Divorce in Washington?

If your soon-to-be-ex spouse was a reckless spender, it likely will not affect property division during your divorce. In some extreme cases of spending, it might, but those instances are generally the exception. To find out whether your spouse’s habits like reckless spending affect a divorce, schedule a consult with divorce attorney Molly B. Kenny by calling 425-460-0550.

How Does Property Division Work in Washington?

Money issues, including debt and asset division, are one of the key areas of contention during a divorce. Many people with spouses that spent large sums of marital funds or racked up debt buying personal, lavish items feel that the spending spouse should be solely liable for those debts. And while that is understandable, the courts generally do not agree.

Washington is a community property state. This means that all assets and debts each spouse earned or incurred during the course of the marriage are community or joint property and are thus subject to even division during a divorce.

It does not matter which spouse made the purchases, which spouse earned the funds to make the purchases, or what the purchases were – if your spouse accrued the debt between the date of your marriage and the date of your divorce, half of that debt may become yours.

So, if your spouse had a taste for expensive clothing, cars, jewelry, personal vacations, or collectibles, her spend-happiness will likely not come into play come settlement time. It is the opinion of most Washington courts that if you had a problem with your spouse’s spending, divorce time is too late to bring it up; you should have spoken up and done something about it during your marriage.

In What Kinds of Situations Might Reckless Spending Affect Division?

While Washington law considers most debts incurred during a marriage community property, much depends on the circumstances. One exception may be if the spending was seriously extravagant to the point that it outweighed the spouse’s contribution to the marriage.

For example, if your wife racked up thousands of dollars in debt shopping every weekend and did not work or otherwise contribute to your marriage, the judge may allocate that debt to her separate property.

For questions about spending and property division in Washington, call our office and arrange for a consult. An asset division attorney can review the specifics of your case and explain how your spouse’s spending might affect your property division.

Contact me at the Law Offices of Molly B. Kenny today at 425-460-0550.

Molly B. Kenny's Bellevue family law office is conveniently located on Lake Bellevue Drive, making it easily accessible to those in the greater Seattle area. Our divorce and child custody lawyers help men and women get the information, guidance, and compassionate representation they need.
Law Offices of Molly B. Kenny