A trial court in a Washington divorce has broad discretion to make a just and equitable property division. RCW 26.09.080 sets forth certain factors that the court must consider in making a just and equitable property distribution, but those factors are not exclusive. The trial court must consider the nature and extent of both the community property and any separate property, the length of the marriage, and each spouse’s economic circumstances when the division takes effect. The court must fairly consider the circumstances and future needs of both parties. An appeals court generally affirms a property distribution unless there was a manifest abuse of discretion. A manifest abuse of discretion occurs if there is a patent disparity in the economic circumstances of the parties as a result of the decree. A former husband recently challenged a property division in which his former wife was awarded a $12,000 judgment.
The parties got married in April 2018 and separated in October 2020. According to the appeals court’s unpublished opinion, they did not have many assets or debts. They bought a home during the marriage. The wife transferred her interest in the home to the husband in 2019 via a quitclaim deed, though her reasons for doing so were in dispute.
The husband asked that the court award each party the bank and retirement accounts in their own name and the vehicle and any personal property in their possession. He asked the court to award him the home. He agreed to assume the community debt if he did not have to pay spousal maintenance.