A Washington court is required to divide property and debt in a manner that is “just and equitable.” There is no formula for that decision, and a Washington judge has wide leeway to decide what is just and equitable. In doing so, the court is required to consider all relevant factors, including whether property is community or separate property, the duration of the marriage, the standard of living in the marriage, and the economic circumstances of each spouse going forward. None of those factors has priority over other factors. To achieve a just and equitable outcome, the court also considers the incomes and expenses in each household. It is not uncommon for a Washington court to award more than 50% of the property to a spouse who has less income if the judge believes that to be appropriate to reach a “just and equitable” outcome. All property and debt is considered and must be addressed.
In reality, only a small fraction of divorces end up in a trial. Over 95% of divorces reach a negotiated settlement. When you are reaching an agreement with your spouse, you get to decide for yourself what is fair and equitable and mutually acceptable.