Divorce never feels “fair” or “just” in most cases, neither party feels they walk away with what they deem “rightfully theirs”. Usually that is because there is simply not enough money and/or assets and there are usually debts to be divided. Washington is a community property state and anything acquired post date of marriage, positive or negative, each party has an undivided one/half interest in. Coupled with spousal support and child support when appropriate, there is usually not enough to go around. The courts have laws to follow, statutes to guide them, when determining (ruling) on who gets what, but it is discretionary and the standard in most marriages (5-25 years long) is “just and equitable”.

For example, who gets to stay in the family home? The court will look at if there are children and want to keep the status quo for them keeping the primary parenting temporarily in the home. But what if it is a short term marriage and the children are adults (still living at home)? Should the mother who is financially independent but can’t afford the mortgage get to stay? If so does the other spouse have to support her? It is difficult to predict. To make it more difficult is that different jurisdictions can be traditionally more conservative or progressive. One county might favor a traditional approach, even when it is contrary to law, while another might expect the woman to fend for herself… because we give broad discretion to the trier of fact.

Long and the short…get a good family law attorney to help you when you are not able to agree with your spouse and issues are not clear.