Divorce: Assets & Debts

The knowledge needed for a fair settlement

Dividing property and debt can often become an extremely combative matter in a divorce. Assets and debts are shared in our state because Washington is considered a “community property state.” Making sure your assets and debts are distributed fairly can hinge on the quality of your legal counsel, so choose your attorney wisely.

Fair and Equitable Division

Here are a couple things to keep in mind:

  • Although the court often focuses on community property, all assets and debts — both separate and community — are considered when the court determines a “fair and equitable” division.
  • A “fair and equitable” division of assets and liabilities is not necessarily an equal 50/50 division.

At Helland Law Group, we can help you protect your financial interest during a divorce. Division of assets proceedings can go off the rails, if your attorney doesn’t work hard to help uncover any hidden assets that your spouse may have. Other times, protecting your interests may relate to alimony, also called spousal maintenance.

Spousal Maintenance in Washington State

You may have given up career opportunities either to raise children or because of some other unforeseen event. Divorce and financial independence could be especially frightening for you if you have always relied on a spouse for financial support.

Washington has spousal maintenance that allows one spouse to receive financial support from the other spouse. Spousal maintenance in Washington is a discretionary act by the court. The length and duration of any financial support awarded is determined on a case-by-case basis. 

Our divorce attorneys can help determine if spousal maintenance is available to you and strongly advocate for you to help obtain the best transition possible.

Complicated divisions of assets and debts

Sometimes your unique financial position makes dividing assets and debts extremely complex. For example, the valuation of the following require extensive discovery and experts to assess values:

  • Businesses
  • Real property
  • Pensions
  • Financial holdings

Our Tacoma-based divorce attorneys have the fortitude, resources, and experience to effectively and aggressively represent you and protect the assets that you have worked hard to earn.

The division of assets and debts in a divorce can be extremely contentious. Make sure you have a compassionate and effective advocate on your side.

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Questions about Assets in Divorce? Ask Slater.

How do I survive financially between the date of filing and the actual date of divorce? ▾

We get it, thinking through financial practicalities around a divorce can be ruff...er...I mean, rough. Good news. It is possible to ask the court for prompt relief after filing for divorce or legal separation through a “temporary order.” Temporary orders address a variety of factors such as: finances (who pays bills, spousal maintenance, attorney fees, etc.), use of property, and parenting issues.

How are assets and debts divided?▾

Washington provides that assets and debts are divided in an “equitable manner. This does not necessarily mean a 50/50 division. Our attorneys at Helland Law Group will work with you to determine what is likely to be considered “equitable, and how to best protect your interests.

Do I have an interest in my spouse’s retirement? ▾

Retirement and pension benefits earned during marriage are considered a community asset and are subject to division.

I think my spouse is hiding assets. How do I find them? ▾

We can work with you to obtain records and other documentation to determine what assets your spouse might be holding. As the Office Dog at Helland Law Group, I’m probably biased, but I’d bet a month’s worth of Milk Bones that our attorneys lead the pack in performing discovery. “Discovery” is lawyer talk for flushing out hidden or concealed assets.

Can I get spousal maintenance? ▾

Possibly. Spousal maintenance is technically available to either spouse. Spousal maintenance is not mandatory but rather discretionary by the court — meaning the judge has wide authority to determine whether or not maintenance is right in your case, the amount awarded, and the length of the award. The judge will often consider certain factors set forth in statutes (laws enacted by the state), which include things like financial resources, length of marriage, standard of living, and the age and health of both parties.