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Lakewood Property Division

Our Lakewood Property Division Attorneys Will Protect Your Financial Future

At our Lakewood law firm, our property attorneys bring a wealth of expertise and years of experience in navigating Pierce County's legal landscape. We understand the critical importance of fair property division during divorce proceedings and its impact on your financial security. To ensure that your property rights are protected and advocated for effectively, our team is adept at handling the complexities of Washington state laws.

With our deep local knowledge and commitment to achieving equitable outcomes, we strive to secure a financial future that reflects your contributions to the marriage. Trust our experienced Lakewood attorneys to guide you through this crucial process with precision and care.

Understanding Washington State's Community Property Laws

In Washington State, community property encompasses all assets and debts accumulated throughout the marriage. These may include income, real estate, personal possessions, investments, and debts accrued during the marriage, irrespective of the name listed on the title or account.

If either spouse owned or acquired the property as a gift or part of inheritance during the marriage, that is separate property. While courts do not divide separate property, they may view any increase in separate property value during marriage as community property.

In a Pierce County divorce, courts typically divide community property equally between spouses, unless an alternate arrangement is established through a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement or via negotiation during divorce proceedings. Community property laws don't necessarily mean every item will be split in half. Rather, the Courts divide the overall value of community property equally.

Just as Courts divide assets equally, debts incurred during the marriage are also divided equally, regardless of which spouse incurred them. However, certain assets may be treated differently under Washington's community property laws. For example, property acquired by one spouse through gift or inheritance may remain separate property if kept separate from community property. Also, property acquired after the spouses have separated may be considered separate property.

Couples divorcing in Washington state can negotiate a property settlement agreement on their own or with the help of attorneys or mediators. Otherwise, the court will divide the property according to state law, aiming for a fair and equitable distribution.

Given the complexities of property division in divorce cases, it's often advisable for individuals to seek legal advice from a qualified Lakewood attorney specializing in property division in Washington state. They will guide you on how the community property laws apply to your circumstances.

What Types Of Assets Are Subject To Property Division During A Pierce County Divorce?

In Pierce County, Washington, divorce is governed by the state's community property laws, which dictate how assets are divided. These laws determine which types of property are subject to division, including:

  • Real Property: This includes the family home, vacation homes, rental properties, land, and any other real estate the spouses own.
  • Personal Property: Personal property encompasses vehicles, furniture, electronics, jewelry, artwork, and other tangible possessions acquired during the marriage.
  • Financial Assets: Financial assets include bank accounts, retirement accounts (such as 401(k)s, IRAs), pensions, stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and other investments accumulated during marriage.
  • Business Interests: Should one spouse own a business or hold interests in a partnership or corporation, these assets might undergo division throughout the divorce process.
  • Income and Earnings: Income earned by either spouse during the marriage, including salaries, wages, bonuses, commissions, and other forms of compensation, may also be subject to property division.
  • Debts: Debts accumulated by either spouse throughout the marriage, including mortgages, car loans, credit card debt, student loans, and other financial obligations, are typically addressed alongside assets during divorce proceedings.
  • Retirement Benefits: Retirement benefits, including pensions and Social Security benefits earned during the marriage, are marital property subject to division during divorce.

Certain assets may qualify as separate property and thus remain exempt from division. Examples include assets owned by one spouse before marriage, gifts or inheritances received during marriage, and assets obtained after legal separation.

In Pierce County, couples undergoing divorce may negotiate a property settlement agreement to establish the division of their assets and debts. Otherwise, the court will allocate property following Washington's community property laws.

How Do Pierce County Courts Value And Divide Assets

To gain a better understanding of how assets are divided and valued in a divorce in Pierce County, let’s delve into how the process generally works:

  • Identify and Classify Assets: The first step is to identify all marital assets and classify them as either community property (assets acquired during the marriage) or separate property (assets acquired before the marriage through gift or inheritance).
  • Value Assets and Debts: The court will determine the fair market value of the assets. The process may involve appraisals for real estate, businesses, and valuable personal property and assessments of retirement accounts and investment portfolios. Along with assets, debts and liabilities incurred during the marriage are also subject to division. They are typically divided equally between spouses, but the court may consider factors like who incurred the debt and the purpose of the debt.
  • Distribute Assets Equitably: While Washington is a community property state, which generally means Courts split assets acquired during the marriage equally, the court has the discretion to distribute assets equitably rather than strictly equally if deemed fair based on the circumstances of the case.
  • Determining Spousal Support: In some cases, the court may grant one spouse spousal support (also referred to as alimony) in divorce settlements. Factors like each spouse's financial requirements, earning potential, and marital standard of living are considered in deciding spousal support.

Divorcing couples often negotiate a property settlement agreement independently, outlining their desired asset and debt division. If the agreement is fair and sensible, the Pierce County court typically sanctions and integrates it into the final divorce decree.

How Can A Property Division Attorney Protect Your Lakewood Property?

Our legal team can be crucial in protecting your property during a divorce in Lakewood, Washington. Here are some of the ways you'll benefit from our assistance:

  1. Leverage Washington State Law Expertise: A property division attorney in Lakewood possesses an in-depth comprehension of Washington State's community property laws and their application to your circumstances. They can elucidate your rights and responsibilities regarding property division, ensuring an equitable distribution of assets.
  2. Thoroughly Document Financial Assets: Your attorney can assist in collecting and documenting all pertinent financial information and assets, encompassing real estate, financial accounts, investments, and personal property. Collaborating with appraisers and financial experts ensures accurate valuation, leaving no asset overlooked.
  3. Access Strong Negotiation Skills: Many divorces entail intricate negotiations concerning property division. Your attorney can advocate for your interests during discussions with your spouse's attorney or mediator, securing fair asset distribution and safeguarding your rights.
  4. Safeguard Separate Property: If you seek to shield pre-marital assets or inheritance from division, your attorney can aid in proper identification and documentation, preventing their classification as community property.
  5. Draft Equitable Agreements: In the event of an extrajudicial property settlement, your attorney can draft or review the agreement to accurately reflect your intentions and safeguard your interests. Additionally, they provide insights into its potential long-term ramifications.
  6. Representation in Court Proceedings: Should your divorce necessitate litigation, your Lakewood divorce attorney will represent you in court hearings and proceedings on property division, arguing on your behalf and presenting evidence for a just resolution.
  7. Enforcement of Court Orders: If your spouse fails to adhere to court orders regarding property division, such as asset transfer or debt repayment, your attorney can pursue legal action to enforce compliance and uphold your rights.

Engaging the services of a proficient property division attorney in Lakewood, Washington can offer invaluable assistance and protection throughout the divorce proceedings. They will work diligently to safeguard your property rights and ensure you receive an equitable distribution of assets.

Navigating a divorce and the intricate details of property division can be daunting. That's where our Lakewood legal team steps in, offering unparalleled expertise in managing these sensitive matters. Our attorneys are deeply familiar with Pierce County's legal system, ensuring your case is handled with the utmost care and professionalism. We prioritize fair and equitable solutions because we understand their importance in laying a solid foundation for your financial future post-divorce.

Entrust your property division concerns to us. Our dedicated Auburn property division attorneys are ready to advocate for your rights and interests. Reach out today and let our Lakewood team support you through every step, ensuring a smoother transition to the next chapter of your life. With our experience and commitment to excellence, we'll work tirelessly to protect what matters most to you, providing personalized guidance and strategic representation tailored to your unique needs. Contact us now to schedule a consultation.

Client Reviews
Laurie has worked on my very challenging and contentious divorce and I could not have asked for a better family law attorney. She was able to handle all of the twists and turns of my case with ease. I highly recommend Laurie to anyone looking for an excellent, ethical and hard working counselor. Chandler
Laurie is an incredible divorce lawyer! She did an amazing job with my divorce, and it was a real dog fight the whole way. She is a true fighter. And you can tell that she really cares about her family law clients and the results that she achieves for them. John
My lawyer guided me through a very challenging time in my life when I was going through my divorce. She worked hard and explained every step of the way what was going on so I could understand the process. I was very happy with her work. Barbel