Marital property refers to all property (including ownership rights and interests) acquired by husband and wife during their marriage. This includes, with some exceptions, all debts incurred by the couple during their marriage. The Washington matrimonial property law recognizes the concept of community property, that is, almost all property acquired in marriage is assumed to be jointly owned by husband and wife, so they have equal right of division in divorce.
What is marital property under Washington law?
Washington is one of the few states in the United States that share property, which means that items that are considered matrimonial property are usually divided equally. According to Washington law, marital (or community) property refers to property acquired by either party in the course of marriage, with some exceptions. Community property generally includes:
All income (including investment interest, capital gains, pension and other assets) of the husband and wife during the marriage;
All property acquired in the course of marriage;
All property acquired with community funds.
For a couple who move out of a state that does not recognize community property, if they divorce in Washington, the property acquired by each spouse in that other state is considered separate property.
What doesn’t Washington think of marital property?
Projects that are not considered community property (including real estate and other valuable assets) are called separate property. These assets are usually part of the property sector at the time of divorce. Washington’s separate property may include:
It is important to remember that if a project is mixed with community funds, it may lose its separate property identity, especially if it is difficult to do so.
Note: state laws will always change through new regulations, high court decisions (including federal decisions), voting initiatives, and other means. As we strive to provide the most up-to-date information, consult a lawyer or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law you are studying.