How are stocks acquired before marriage, spent during marriage divided?

Asked almost 3 years ago - Seattle, WA

My soon-to-be-ex wife is claiming that I give all of her $80,000 of stocks back, she had this amount before we got married and sold during our marriage. I had about $60,000 at that time. Currently, I have about $100,000 and she has $70,000. What the fair distribution of these assets?

Attorney answers (2)

  1. Rodney George Pierce

    Contributor Level 14


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . It sounds easy to come up with a disposition of property. In reality, when all the evidence is admitted at trial, its reasonable to expect that 10 different judges in the King County County Superior could come up with 10 different solutions.

    The statute gives the judge complete discretion. RCW 26.09.080 provides as follows:

    Disposition of property and liabilities – Factors.
    In a proceeding for dissolution of the marriage or domestic partnership, legal separation, declaration of invalidity, or in a proceeding for disposition of property following dissolution of the marriage or the domestic partnership by a court which lacked personal jurisdiction over the absent spouse or absent domestic partner or lacked jurisdiction to dispose of the property, the court shall, without regard to misconduct, make such disposition of the property and the liabilities of the parties, either community or separate, as shall appear just and equitable after considering all relevant factors including, but not limited to:
    (1) The nature and extent of the community property;
    (2) The nature and extent of the separate property;
    (3) The duration of the marriage or domestic partnership; and
    (4) The economic circumstances of each spouse or domestic partner at the time the division of property is to become effective, 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.

    You can't get a reliable legal opinion in this forum to answer your questions. You need to schedule a brief paid 1 hour consult with a good family law attorney, who will review the facts and issues. Only then can you get good advice on your realistic options. You may contact me and I will be happy to discuss the issue with you right away.

    LEGAL DISCLAIMER Mr. Pierce is licensed to practice law in Washing with an office in Seattle and services... more
  2. Douglas Paul Becker


    Contributor Level 7


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Generally, you can't divide what's gone. If $80k of separate property was used for a down payment on a house, then there would be a claim for the first $80k off the top. But if the stock was liquidated to take trips, pay down credit cards, living expenses, etc., then it's gone and can't be compensated. So the question is, "where's the money?"

    Doug Becker

    By asking your question on AVVO you agree and understand there is no attorney-client relationship established, no... more

Can't find what you're looking for? Ask a Lawyer

Get free answers from experienced attorneys.


Ask now

22,178 answers this week

2,738 attorneys answering

Ask a Lawyer

Get answers from top-rated lawyers.

  • It's FREE
  • It's easy
  • It's anonymous

22,178 answers this week

2,738 attorneys answering