La Conner, WA asked in Divorce for Washington

Q: We have a piece of property in my wife's name only. I want to know if she can be made to sell it as community property?

We have been legally separated since 2009. We have a house that we bought a year and a 1 1/2 ago. She wants to sell that. Her family gave us the property 3 and a 1/2 years ago. But only put it in her name. We live in Skagit County in Washington State.

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1 Lawyer Answer
Zachary C Ashby
Zachary C Ashby
  • Richland, WA
  • Licensed in Washington

A: First, you will have to show that it is community property. While Washington Courts favor characterizing property as community, there are certain times when property is considered separate property.

For example, inheritance, gifts, personal injury payouts, or property owned before marriage are usually separate property.

Showing that it is, in fact, the community is very fact-intensive. You would need evidence of the intent of the gift, use during the marriage, or other agreements that the property is actually community property.

I had a case once where the opposing party obtain property through inheritance and it wasn't until we found they had signed a community property agreement that we were able to get anywhere in resolving the matter.

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