If you and your spouse are heading for a divorce in Washington state, you should know what to expect regarding your family home.
Washington divorce law outlines how you and your spouse can divide your property.
Washington is a community property state, meaning whatever you and your spouse acquired during the marriage belongs to both of you. Unless one of you purchased and maintained the home with completely separate funds, or received it as a gift only to you or as an inheritance, your home is most likely community property. In a litigated divorce, a court determines a fair and equitable division of assets and debts, which is often, but not always, 50/50.
Considerations for who stays in the home
While you and your spouse legally share a community property home, you must make arrangements for who will remain living in it (unless you choose to sell it). You and your spouse can reach an agreement on your own outside of court with the help of a mediator. Start this process by determining how much your home is worth to find each spouse’s share. If you and your spouse cannot agree on who keeps the house and a fair buyout amount, a court will consider several factors to decide for you, including:
- Do the children live in the home?
- Which spouse currently lives in the home?
- Who can afford the mortgage and maintenance?
- What are the wishes of the parties as far as residing in the home?
- Can the spouse that wants to reside in the home refinance the home into their sole name?
Keeping these factors in mind can help you prepare for the property division stage of your divorce to create a firmer foundation for your life after divorce.