This week we covered the story of millionaire couple Christopher Larson and Julia Calhoun who divorced this year in King County. The Seattle couple became rich through Larson’s involvement with Microsoft and the Seattle Mariners – but decided to end their marriage after 26 years. While the split was somewhat amicable, the two parties struggled to divide their many and varied assets, which included multiple homes, multiple cars, collectors’ items, and an art collection worth $102 million.
Washington is a Community Property State
In Washington State, the court considers both spouses equal owners of all marital property and judges strive to split property and assets 50-50 during divorce proceedings. While most states (equitable distribution states) factor in the length of the marriage, the financial status of each person, the earning potential of each person, and the standard of living of the couple, Washington does not consider these aspects while dividing property.
Dividing Property in Court or out of Court?
In the case of Larson and Calhoun, the couple managed to divide much of their property with the help of their attorneys out of court: he received the baseball memorabilia, the Rolls Royce, and the Seattle mansion, while she received the vase collection, several properties, and 11 Volvos. However, when it came to their art, they needed the help of a judge. The King County judge listened to both of their desires and split the art collection as fairly as possible.
The advantage of settling the division of property outside of court is that you and your ex-spouse ultimately have control of the outcome. But when it becomes impossible to find a solution yourself, which can happen even in the friendliest divorce, a judge can make tough, 50-50 decisions.
Determining the Value of an Asset
Splitting your property and assets 50-50 can be more difficult than it seems, since the market value of something is different from its sentimental value and its projected future value. It is important when dividing property to realize that value is a complicated thing.
Seattle Division of Property Attorney
When you divorce, it is important to enter the new chapter of your life with a fair share of your marital property and assets. One of the best ways to ensure that the division of property is executed fairly is by having a knowledgeable, experienced, and aggressive attorney at your side. To schedule a private consultation with the Washington divorce lawyers at the Law Offices of Molly B. Kenny, call us today at 425-460-0550.