It’s not a given that the spouse who gets the house in a divorce gets to keep the furnishings. When a couple divorces in Washington, all community property (marital property) is divided equitably. The marital home is one asset; the furnishings are separate assets. They are two entirely separate issues and are handled separately. It all depends on how the couple (or judge if the couple can’t decide on their own) chooses to allot the assets.

How Property is Handled During a Washington Divorce

Washington is a community property state, which means that the courts start with the premise that all assets a couple acquires during the marriage are community (joint) property. Assets you had prior to marriage are separate property and not subject to division in a divorce.

When property is divided in divorce, it may not be exactly 50-50, but the law does mandate that it be distributed in a manner that is “just and equitable.” So how does the court determine what’s just and equitable? RCW 26.09.080 provides four factors that the courts consider when divvying up the community property.

  1. The nature and extent of the community property
  2. The nature and extent of the separate property
  3. The duration of the marriage
  4. Each spouse’s economic circumstances at the time the division of property, including “the desirability of awarding the family home or the right to live therein for reasonable periods to a spouse or domestic partner with whom the children reside the majority of the time.”

Assessing Your Marital Property

One of the tasks you and your ex will have to accomplish is to come up with a thorough list of all your assets and debts, complete with appraisals and valuations. Then, you, your spouse and your attorneys can begin the negotiation process to determine a way to split the property in a manner that seems fair to both of you.

For example, one spouse may want to keep the house, but the other may want to keep the designer furniture or the home entertainment system. Or one spouse may keep the house and all of its contents, and the other will get to keep a much larger portion of the retirement account. There’s a need for flexibility and room for creativity when coming up with a settlement plan. Try to fight only for the items that are truly important to you. The goal during distribution is to work towards compromise and fairness.

Attorney Kenny Can Help You Settle Your Divorce

Family law attorney Molly B. Kenny has a knack for coming up with creative solutions for divorce settlements in Washington and helping couples reach resolution. She’d be happy to assist and represent you during your divorce. Call the office today at (425) 460-0550 and schedule a consultation or fill out our online contact form.

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