PROPERTY AND DEBT DIVISION
Division of Property and Liabilities
There is no formula for dividing property and liabilities. The statute, RCW 26.09.080, provides that the disposition of property and liabilities must be “just and equitable” after considering all relevant factors such as (1) nature and extent of community property, (2) nature and extent of separate property), (3) the duration of the marriage or domestic partnership and (4) the economic circumstances of each spouse or domestic partner at the time the division of property is to become effective.
Please look at my spreadsheet in the Resources tab. The goal is to have every cell filled out so that you know what you and your spouse/partner own and owe. In addition to typical items such as houses, cars and credit cards, things like air miles and tax debts also need to be on the spreadsheet. If you are not familiar with your finances or do not have access to any of the financial records, financial information can be obtained through the formal “discovery” process whereby the other party must answer written questions and provide documents in response to requests for production. Assets such as houses, collectibles or pensions often need to be valued by professionals. Sometimes there are complex separate property issues that need to be investigated and traced. As a divorce lawyer, my job is to gather all of the information necessary to help you evaluate a final division of assets and liabilities.