One of the most challenging aspects of property division can be determining which property is separately owned by a spouse and which was acquired jointly during a marriage. To ensure your interests are protected in this situation, consult with an experienced Spokane divorce attorney. With over four decades of experience, our team at Twyford Law Office works to protect the assets of clients going through divorce or legal separation proceedings. Contact us for a free consultation, so we may further discuss any separate property issues you are facing.
Why Twyford Law Office is Right For You
You are more than a client to us and will be treated with the utmost respect and understanding.
We have more than four decades of combined experience, protecting the separate property that belongs to those we represent.
We are always accessible, and able to be reached 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Separate Property vs. Community Property
Separate property belongs to only one spouse prior to, during, and following the marriage (RCW 26.16.010). This mainly consists of the following:
Property owned prior to the marriage.
Property acquired by one spouse by gift, inheritance, bequest or devise.
Substantial amount of accrued debt prior to the marriage.
Any property or debts specified as separate property in a legally enforceable contract, such as a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement.
Property obtained by one spouse with the use of the separate property (such as money from an inheritance), and with the clear purpose of that property remaining separate.
When separate property has been commingled with marital property to the point that it is unable to be traced back to when the assets were separate, then it will be considered community property and will be subject to division. An additional example of commingling includes when shared property such as income has been used to pay off separate property. The separate property, or at least a portion of its value, will then become community property. In the state of Washington, each spouse is allowed half of all community property and debts in the event of a divorce.
How to Protect Separate Property from Division
Generally, the party asserting a property as separate has the burden of presenting evidence to support that position. The right of a spouse to keep his or her separate property upon divorce will often depend largely on whether that spouse actually kept their separate property separate.
The best way to do so is to not transmute it in any way, or in other words, don’t take action to attach a spouse’s name to the ownership of an asset. For instance, adding a spouse’s name to the deed of a house or the title of a car. Separate property that is in the form of cash should be kept in an individual account. Commingling separate funds by contributing them to community expenses can complicate property division. If detailed records were not kept then a tracing of the funds may be necessary, which can be difficult without the help of a separate property divorce attorney who can help guide you through the process. Attorneys also often work with forensic accountants and other professionals as necessary to assist you with protecting the property as separate.
Speak to a Spokane Separate Property Attorney
If you are heading into a divorce and have any concerns regarding separate property, don’t hesitate to contact Twyford Law Office. We offer initial case evaluations for free so we may better advise you of your options. Reach our property settlement lawyers any time of the day, by calling (509) 327-0777 or filling out our online contact form.