Washington Law Review


Washington's present community property regime, with the major exception of the 1972 amendments, has remained largely unchanged in its basic structure since enactment by the territorial legislature in 1879. The statutes, in two separate sections, provide that property and pecuniary rights owned by each spouse at the time of marriage, any property thereafter acquired lucratively, and the rents, issues and profits therefrom constitute separate property. All property acquired after marriage which is not separate property is community property. With the 1972 changes now in effect, each spouse has equal management power over the community property. Each spouse has a general inter vivos power to dispose of the community personal property, but neither alone can acquire, convey, or encumber community real property, convey or encumber community household goods, or purchase or transfer community business assets in some situations. Each spouse may devise or bequeath his or her half of the community property and may deal in all respects with his or her separate property as if unmarried.

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