In a community property state, such as Washington, before the court can divide the property, it must “characterize” the property as either the separate property of one spouse, or as the “community property” of the marriage (or as the community property of some other relationship recognized by the courts).
The “community” owns all the labor of the husband and wife (or domestic partners) during the period of the relationship. All assets that resulted from the labor of either spouse or partner are community assets.
Additionally, as is true in about one-half of the community property states, the judges in Washington State also have the power over separate property to give it to the other spouse. The only requirement is that the judge make a “just and equitable” distribution of the assets and liabilities.
The dissolution trial process is complex, characterizing property can become complicated, and there are a variety of “presumptions” that impact the court’s “characterization” of the property. Every step in the litigation affects who gets what.
An attorney who is experienced and skilled at this aspect of divorce litigation is family law attorney Craig Mason. Arrange an appointment at his office located at West 1707 Broadway in Spokane by calling (509) 443-3681.