If you are facing a
divorce in Washington and are wondering if you will be able to keep a gift or
inheritance, the first thing you should know is that Washington is one
of nine states that are community property states.
This means that all income and property earned during the course of the
marriage by either you or your spouse is community property; the community
property equally belongs to you and your spouse.
If you do not want to split your community property down the middle, you
and your spouse may be able to reach an agreement on what would be a fair
division. If you are unable to reach such an agreement, or if certain
assets are in dispute, then you can go to court and try to convince the
court that there is good reason for an equitable division.
Separate vs. Community Property
Before the court distributes community property, first it must determine
which property is community property (belonging to the both of you), and
which property is separate. The most common types of community property
divided upon divorce include:
- Cash in bank accounts
- The family home
- Retirement accounts
Generally, the property owned prior to the marriage is considered separate
property (and is not subject to division), and property acquired during
the marriage is considered "community property."
Is Inheritance Separate Property?
If you are worried about that property gifted to you by your parents, or
the inheritance that you received from your grandmother, the good news
is that even when such property is not acquired before marriage, but during
it, gifts and inheritances remain yours to keep regardless of when they
If your parents gave you their vacation home in Florida during your marriage,
and you rent it out, any rental payments you receive are yours alone.
Further, any money that you make off that property cannot be touched by
your spouse's creditors.
To learn more about property division in Washington, visit the
Revised Code of Washington 26.09.080. If you are in need of legal advice and representation in your divorce
McKinley Irvin to schedule your initial consultation.
We are accredited by the Better Business Bureau, and as the region's
premier family law firm, our attorneys are among the top in the field
of divorce and matrimonial law.