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Under WA state law, how is property divided in a divorce

Seattle, WA |

well my husband is saying that when we get a divorce i will be left with nothing. but we had bought a car together and he still says that he will get it not me. Plus he has another car. so what do i do.

Attorney Answers 3


  1. It is my understanding that Washington State allows for the equitable distribution of property. I would suggest contacting a licensed Washington State attorney for proper legal advice. You might find that you are entitled to a portion of the marital property, pension benefits, alimony, child support,etc.


  2. Previous colleague is absolutely right - I am chiming in to add that in your situation you want to be careful to get your own legal advisor, and not take legal advice from your soon-to-be-ex. He doesn't have your best interests at heart, and he has a vested interest in bullying you into accepting less than you may be entitled to. When he tells you how he's going to get everything and you are going to get nothing, just don't pay any attention to him. He's just trying to scare you.

    Washington is a community property state. All property - separate and community - is before the Court for a just and equitable distribution. Bottom line is if you don't agree with his proposal, argue for what you want. That is what a skilled family law attorney does best! 97% of family law cases reach a settlement. You'll get there. And although the Bar doesn't let us guarantee outcomes, I'd be willing to bet that your settlement will be within the acceptable range of property distribution, which will not be 100% to him and 0% to you.

    Hope this helps. Elizabeth Powell


  3. When dividing property, the first thing the court does is characterize the prop as community or separate. Then is makes an allocation of each that is fair and equitable. if the more recently purchsased car was purchased during the marriage, most likely it is community property. if the other car was purchased before the marriage, it may be his sep. property, but the court will still consider it in the allocation of prop.

    if all you have and your husband have is a few hundred dollars worth of cars, then it is probably not worth fighting about. However, if there is more property at stake, then you really should see a lawyer, at least for an office visit, who can ask you the right questions and then come up with a plan for protecting your interests in your divorce.

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