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Puyallup Property Division

Property Division Attorneys Help Secure Your Puyallup Assets

In Puyallup, protecting your rights during a divorce, especially regarding fair property division, is paramount. Our team of skilled property division attorneys specializes in navigating these complex legal waters. We understand the intricacies of Washington State laws and how they apply to your unique situation, ensuring you receive an equitable share of marital assets. By leveraging our expertise and local knowledge, we advocate strongly on your behalf. Trust us to guide you through this challenging process with strategic advice and compassionate support and work toward a resolution that safeguards your financial interests.

Here's how we make a difference in securing your rightful property division.

How Do Pierce County Courts Divide Property In Divorce?

In Pierce County, Washington, property division is governed by the principles of equitable distribution, meaning marital property is divided fairly but not always equally between spouses.

All the assets and debts you accumulated during the marriage constitute marital property. In contrast, separate property typically includes assets one spouse owns before marriage or acquired through inheritance or gift during the marriage.

When determining how to divide property, Pierce County courts may consider various factors, including:

  • The duration of the marriage
  • Each spouse's financial situation and earning capacity
  • Contributions made by each spouse to the marriage, including homemaking and childcare
  • Future financial needs of each spouse, particularly if one spouse has custody of children
  • Any agreements made by the spouses regarding property division
  • Either spouse is engaging in wasteful dissipation of assets.
  • Any other relevant factors

Washington operates as a community property state, implying that courts typically view marital property as jointly owned by spouses, irrespective of individual income or title ownership. However, equitable distribution offers leeway in dividing assets and debts, considering each case's unique factors.

Are Debts Included In Property Division?

During a divorce, Pierce County courts include debts in the property division process. Marital debts, which are those incurred during the marriage, are divided along with marital assets. Mortgages, car loans, credit card debt, and other liabilities accumulated during the marriage are considered debts.

Like the division of assets, the King Pierce County courts consider various factors in determining how to divide marital debts fairly between the spouses. These factors may include each spouse's financial situation, their respective incomes and earning capacities, contributions to the marriage, and any agreements between spouses regarding debt division.

It's important to note that while debts from the marriage are marital debts and subject to division, debts acquired before or after separation may be considered separate debts and may not be divided similarly.

What Happens To My Puyallup Home During A Divorce?

During a divorce in Puyallup, Washington, the fate of your home will depend on various factors, including whether it is considered marital property, separate property, or a combination of both. Here's an overview of potential scenarios:

Marital Property

Because marital property is subject to division, the court may order the home to be sold and the proceeds divided between the spouses. It may also award one spouse the home while the other receives other assets of comparable value.

Separate Property

Suppose one spouse owned the home before you got married or it was acquired through inheritance or as a gift to one spouse alone. In that case, the home may be considered separate property, which may be awarded entirely to the spouse who owns it. However, the other spouse may still have a claim to a portion of its value under certain circumstances.

Shared Ownership

Suppose both spouses contribute to the purchase or maintenance of the home during the marriage, even if one spouse initially owned it. In that case, it may be considered partially marital property subject to division. The court may determine each spouse's percentage of ownership based on their contributions and divide the home accordingly.

If the couple has children, the court may prioritize their well-being when deciding what happens to the marital home. In some cases, courts may award the custodial parent exclusive possession of the home until the youngest child reaches a certain age, during which the spouses may sell the home and the proceeds may be divided.

What Steps Can I Take To Protect My Assets During Divorce?

Protecting your assets during a divorce is important to achieve a fair outcome and safeguard your financial future. Here are some steps you can take to safeguard them:

  • Collect Financial Documents: Gather bank statements, tax returns, investment account statements, property deeds, and debt records to understand your financial situation thoroughly.
  • Establish Individual Accounts: Open individual bank and credit accounts if you don't already have them to maintain financial independence during divorce proceedings.
  • Document Separate Property: Collect documentation to establish assets acquired before marriage or obtained through gifts or inheritances during the marriage as separate property. Keep documentation showing their origin and history.
  • Consider Prenuptial or Postnuptial Agreements: These agreements delineate the split of both assets and debts in the event of divorce, offering transparency and safeguarding the interests of both parties.
  • Protect Business Interests: Secure business assets and financial records, update ownership agreements, and maintain clear financial records to distinguish personal and business expenses.
  • Limit Joint Financial Transactions: During the divorce process, avoid significant financial transactions or changes to joint accounts to prevent complicated asset division or suspicions of asset hiding. Consult with your attorney before making major financial decisions.
  • Stay Organized and Transparent: Be transparent and cooperative throughout the divorce process. Provide accurate financial information and comply with court orders and requests for documentation. Maintaining integrity and honesty can help expedite divorce proceedings and lead to a fair resolution.
  • Review Retirement Accounts: Assess any retirement accounts, such as 401(k)s, IRAs, pensions, and other investments, to determine their value and division in the divorce settlement.
  • Seek Professional Valuation for High-Value Assets: If you own high-value assets such as real estate, valuable artwork, or collectibles, consider obtaining professional valuations to ensure accurate division during the divorce process.

Remember that every divorce case is unique, and the best strategies for asset protection will depend on your circumstances. Consult with our qualified property division attorneys as soon as possible to understand your rights and options regarding asset protection during a divorce.

What Does A Property Division Attorney Do?

A family law attorney provides legal advice and guidance to clients on matters related to property division in divorce. Here are some of the ways members of our legal team in Puyallup support clients:

  1. Asset Evaluation: An attorney helps clients identify and evaluate all marital assets and debts, including real estate, investments, retirement accounts, business interests, and personal property. They may work with financial experts, appraisers, and other professionals to assess the value of assets accurately.
  2. Property Classification: Because it’s crucial to determine which assets and debts are considered marital and separate property, attorneys guide clients throughout the process, analyzing the facts of each case to classify property appropriately under state law.
  3. Negotiation and Representation of the Client's Interests: Property division attorneys negotiate on behalf of their clients to reach an equitable settlement outside of Court. They may also participate in mediation sessions, helping clients reach mutually acceptable agreements with their spouses.
  4. Representation During Litigation: If property division issues cannot be resolved through negotiation or mediation, attorneys represent their clients in court proceedings. Their services cover various tasks, including preparing legal documents, presenting evidence, and arguing for their clients' interests during hearings and trials.
  5. Draft Legal Documents: Attorneys draft legal documents, including property settlement agreements, stipulations, and court orders outlining the terms of property division, which are crucial for formalizing agreements between spouses or presenting proposals to the court for approval.
  6. Enforce and Modify Existing Property Division Court Orders: Attorneys assist clients in enforcing property division orders and address post-divorce issues that arise, such as non-compliance with court orders or requests for modification of property division arrangements due to changed circumstances.

During your divorce proceedings, having a dedicated team by your side is crucial to ensure that Pierce County Courts handles your property division fairly and justly. Our Puyallup attorneys are deeply committed to advocating for your best interests and equipped with the knowledge and experience necessary to navigate the complexities of your case.

Allow us to take the legal burden off your shoulders, ensuring your rights and your future are secure. For unparalleled legal representation that puts your needs first, contact us today. Together, we can achieve the fairness and resolution you deserve.

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