In Washington State, property division during a divorce follows the principle of community property.
However, determining who gets the house specifically involves various factors and considerations. While not all of them apply to every situation, here are some of the things that may have to be considered:
Community property and acquisition
If the house was acquired during the marriage, it is likely considered community property and subject to division. The court evaluates the house’s fair market value and considers both spouses’ financial contributions towards its acquisition and maintenance. If the house was acquired prior to one spouse’s marriage, it may be a lot more complicated.
Best interests of children
The court considers the best interests of any children involved. If the custodial parent is given primary custody, they may be more likely to keep the family home in an effort to provide stability and a familiar living environment for the children.
The court considers the financial circumstances of both spouses. If one spouse has significantly greater financial resources or a higher income, they may be more likely to retain the house, especially if they can afford to buy out the other spouse’s share.
Prior marital agreements
A prenuptial or postnuptial agreement can carve out separate property for one or both spouses. If an agreement makes the family home one spouse’s personal property, that will definitely affect what happens.
The division of the house in a Washington State divorce depends on factors such as property nature, financial contributions, child custody arrangements and equitable distribution of assets. Knowing your legal rights and options in this situation is important to get your fair share of marital assets.