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Washington

JURISDICTIONAL END OF MARRIAGE DATE: Date when either or both the parties perceive the rift in their relationship as final.

STATE TYPE FOR PENSION EVALUATION: Washington is a "community property" state. In a divorce, the property (land, house, buildings, and items of personal property) owned (and debts owed) by the couple is divided between the parties. You and your spouse must agree to this division in the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage, in which you both must join. You may agree to divide the property any way you like, as long as you both agree. If you cannot agree on any item of this division, the dissolution of marriage transforms into a contested divorce. In a contested case, the court shall, without regard to marital 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:

(a) The nature and extent of the community property; (b) The nature and extent of the separate property; (c) The duration of the marriage; and (d) The economic circumstances of each spouse 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 with whom the children reside the majority of the time.

[Revised Code of Washington Annotated; Title 26, Chapters 26.09.080, 26.16.010, 26.16.020, 26.16.030, and 26.16.220].


Wash. Rev. Code '26.09.080

Disposition of property and liabilities C Factors.

In a proceeding for dissolution of the marriage, legal separation, declaration of invalidity, or in a proceeding for disposition of property following dissolution of the marriage by a court which lacked personal jurisdiction over the absent spouse or lacked jurisdiction to dispose of the property, the court shall, without regard to marital 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; and

(4) The economic circumstances of each spouse 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 with whom the children reside the majority of the time.

WASH. REV. CODE ' 26.16.010

Separate property of husband.

Property and pecuniary rights owned by the husband before marriage and that acquired by him afterwards by gift, bequest, devise or descent, with the rents, issues and profits thereof, shall not be subject to the debts or contracts of his wife, and he may manage, lease, sell, convey, encumber or devise by will such property without the wife joining in such management, alienation or encumbrance, as fully and to the same effect as though he were unmarried.

WASH. REV. CODE ' 26.16.020

Separate property of wife.

The property and pecuniary rights of every married woman at the time of her marriage or afterwards acquired by gift, devise or inheritance, with the rents, issues and profits thereof, shall not be subject to the debts or contracts of her husband, and she may manage, lease, sell, convey, encumber or devise by will such property to the same extent and in the same manner that her husband can, property belonging to him.

Wash. Rev. Code ' 26.16.030

Community property defined C Management and control.

Property not acquired or owned, as prescribed in RCW 26.16.010 and 26.16.020, acquired after marriage by either husband or wife or both, is community property. Either spouse, acting alone, may manage and control community property, with a like power of disposition as the acting spouse has over his or her separate property, except:

(1) Neither spouse shall devise or bequeath by will more than one-half of the community property.

(2) Neither spouse shall give community property without the express or implied consent of the other.

(3) Neither spouse shall sell, convey, or encumber the community real property without the other spouse joining in the execution of the deed or other instrument by which the real estate is sold, conveyed, or encumbered, and such deed or other instrument must be acknowledged by both spouses.

(4) Neither spouse shall purchase or contract to purchase community real property without the other spouse joining in the transaction of purchase or in the execution of the contract to purchase.

(5) Neither spouse shall create a security interest other than a purchase money security interest as defined in RCW 62A.9-107 in, or sell, community household goods, furnishings, or appliances, or a community mobile home unless the other spouse joins in executing the security agreement or bill of sale, if any.

(6) Neither spouse shall acquire, purchase, sell, convey, or encumber the assets, including real estate, or the good will of a business where both spouses participate in its management without the consent of the other:

PROVIDED, That where only one spouse participates in such management the participating spouse may, in the ordinary course of such business, acquire, purchase, sell, convey or encumber the assets, including real estate, or the good will of the business without the consent of the nonparticipating spouse.

Wash. Rev. Code ' 26.16.050

Conveyances between husband and wife.

A husband may give, grant, sell or convey directly to his wife, and a wife may give, grant, sell or convey directly to her husband his or her community right, title, interest or estate in all or any portion of their community real property: And every deed made from husband to wife, or from wife to husband, shall operate to divest the real estate therein recited from any or every claim or demand as community property and shall vest the same in the grantee as separate property[. The] grantor in all such deeds, or the party releasing such community interest or estate shall sign, seal, execute and acknowledge the deed as a single person without the joinder therein of the married party therein named as grantee: PROVIDED, HOWEVER, That the conveyances or transfers hereby authorized shall not affect any existing equity in favor of creditors of the grantor at the time of such transfer, gift or conveyance. AND PROVIDED FURTHER, That any deeds of gift conveyances or releases of community estate by or between husband and wife heretofore made but in which the husband and wife have not joined as grantors, said deeds[,] where made in good faith and without intent to hinder, delay or defraud creditors[,] shall be and the same are hereby fully legalized as valid and binding.

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