Three-minute legal tips: Community Property vs Equitable Distribution

How the courts will divide a couple’s marital assets during a divorce depends largely on whether the couple lives in a community property or equitable distribution state. Most states are equitable distribution states, which means the court considers an individual’s assets to be their own personal property unless the couple has decided to share them.

However, Washington is one of a handful of community property states, which means couples usually hold assets jointly. There are a few exceptions and considerations, though.

Terry Price, a family law expert at UW Law, discusses the steps the court uses to split up assets and how it determines what are community property or separate property assets. Learn more about what it means to have a just and equitable distribution.