While owning international property and having to worry about dividing it in a divorce in Washington State may not be the norm for most couples, it is also not uncommon. If you are the owner of international property, or are married to a person who owns international property, divorce can create significant stress for you. A Washington divorce attorney can counsel you. The following provides a brief primer on dividing international property in a Washington State divorce.

Washington Property Division Laws

Washington’s community property laws stipulate that property that is acquired during the course of a marriage (with the exception of property or assets that are inherited) is considered to be joint marital property.

As such, all joint marital property—or community property—is subject to equitable division in the event of a divorce. For all marital property that is owned within the state of Washington, Washington State courts have jurisdiction.

When Community Property is International Property

Washington State courts do not have jurisdiction over international property. That being said, the court does have the power to take certain legal actions related to the division of property, including international property. For example, the court can order one spouse to pay the other spouse a certain monetary amount in order to make the division of property “equitable” or to “buy out” the other spouse.

How to Locate and Value International Property

One of the most complicated issues in dividing international property and protecting assets during a divorce is locating and valuing the property. In the U.S., usually an appraiser is simply hired; abroad, hiring an appraiser may not be as straightforward.

In order to appraise property that is located overseas, you may need to take specific actions (such as hiring a notary of that country, for example). In fact, even locating the property can be difficult to do if your spouse is hiding the property from you, and may require the counsel of a financial or legal expert.

Why You Need an Attorney When Dividing Property

Dividing property during a divorce can be a headache. When international property is involved, this is even truer. To ensure that you get the fairest division or property possible, and that your rights under the law to equitable division are protected, make sure that you seek the counsel of a Washington State divorce attorney.

Contact the Law Offices of Molly B. Kenny to discuss your divorce today. To schedule an appointment, call now at 425-460-0550. 

Molly B. Kenny
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Divorce and Child Custody Attorney Serving Bellevue and Seattle Washington