As you prepare for your divorce, you’ll probably begin to question what kind of assets will remain in your name. Is the family home something you’ll be able to keep? What about your bank accounts?

Reviewing the laws that guide property division in the state of Washington may provide you with a clearer picture. Essentially, there is some property that falls under the community property category that is subject to division, and there is separate property that you don’t have to share.

Community property state

Washington is a state that recognizes community property. So, all items, assets or debts that you acquire through your marriage are subject to division, and the goal is to divide these joint assets equally. Community or marital property includes wages you earn during your marriage and all the purchases you make with these wages. It also includes your investments and retirement benefits you’ve accrued.

So, say you plan to sell home if the family home through the divorce process. If it is a purchase either you or your ex made after your wedding day, then, per state law state law, you may be able to receive half of the profit.

Separate property

However, there are certain assets that a court of law can’t split in half. Any items that fall under the separate community category are ones you can claim as your own after your divorce is final. For the most part, this includes any property you had before you were married, gifts you’ve received during marriage and any inheritances you’ve accumulated.

But when separate property mixes with community property, you probably can’t claim it as your own. For example, if you receive antique dining room furniture from a family member who passed away, this is a typical example of separate property. But, if you auction the furniture off and place the money you earn in a joint bank account, then these earnings aren’t separate property anymore.

Property division laws are complex, but a dedicated divorce attorney can help you navigate all the legal intricacies of the separation process.