Washington State married Woman's Separate Act -

Hello, I was wondering if you can answer a question for me. 
I am Canadian and am buying a property in Washington State.  I was informed by the title company that I have to get my (soon to be ex) husband to sign a "quick claim deed" as we are currently only separated and if I don't get him to sign the paper then he will have a claim against the property I am purchasing. 
I was just wondering if you know if that law only applies to US Citizens? 
Thank you in advance for your help.

david ingram replies:

Washington has a married woman's separate property act.  If it is not dealt with, any property you buy will automaticaly belong equally to your ex husband.

I have no idea why you would ask if it only applies to US citizens.  It applies to Washington State property owned by married people of any race, religion or citizenship.

Remember, if this property is a rental, you can NOT work on it withnout threat of arrest, DEPORTATIOON AND BEING BANNED FROM THE us FOR FIVE OR TEN YEARS.

For more information on renting out property in the US, See:


This three year old question might help as well

My husband and I are divorcing and I am coming back to Canada. What am I entitled to? What do I have to pay tax on? ============================ david ingram replies: Good Question. The property rules for divorcing couples are different in every Province in canada  and every state in the United States. In addition, there are at least seven different state legislated treatments of Community Property in the US  and BC treats property differently than most of the indidual states. I spent twenty years as a divorce counsellor for the splitting of marital and business property but took my name out of the yellow pages 6 years ago and have not kept up for all the states. However, since you are moving from Washington State to BC, I am pleased to say that I "think" I can deal with it because I have kept up on those two jurisdictions I caution the reader that I am NOT up on community property in Arizona which is different from community property in California and they are both different from Louisiana and Quebec. (Louisiana and Quebec have a French heritage and Arizona and California have Spanish inputs). The major difference between Washington State and BC is that in Washington State "EVERYTHING" (including salaries) is community property "right NOW", unless a document has been specifically filed to the contrary under the Married Woman's Separate Property Act. In British Columbia, everything is presumed to be the property of the registered owner or the person who bought the item until there is a marraige breakdown. In BC, the family assets are then presumed to be owned fifty/fifty upon a triggering event. This entitlement to a one-half interest in family assets only exists at the moment that a triggering even occurs: 1. there is a separation agreement, 2. a B.C. Court has declared "that the spouses have no reasonable prospect         of reconciliation", 3 if the parties are divorced or 4. if the marriage has been declared null and void The date of the triggering event determines the date for the determination of what "is" and what "is not" a family asset, although the date can be changed by a court for reasons of fairness. Assets bought by either partner "after" the triggering event are not family assets unless they were purchased with family assets or from the proceeds of a family asset. The mere fact of separating is not a triggering event in BC. This is a totally different position from that in Washington state where you are coming from. For instance, in Washington State, if you and your husband are both working and for any number of reasons, the two of you should decide to file your income tax returns as "MFS" (married filing separately), you have to split both salaries in half and you report half of yours and half of his on your return and half of yours and half of his on his return. In general, the money and property is easy to split and is a mathematical exercise involving appraisals and after tax equities. For instance, in Washington State, you are entitled to half of your husband's future pensions and half of his 401(K) and half of his IRA and half of his boat and travel trailer and gun collection. In BC, you would be entitled to half of his Pension, half of his RRSP, and half of the family boat and travel trailer. However, if the gun collection was locked away in his office or in a safe (as it is supposed to be) and not on display in the family home, than the gun collection might be ruled to be his private property and not a family asset. In the US, you would get half of the artwork in storage or on the wall, but in BC, is you had an artwork collection which had been inherited from you family and you never every displayed it in the home, that artwork would be yours. Likewise, if you had inherited a $1,000,000 stock portfolio and had never taken a cent out of it for family purposes, in BC, it is yours. Businesses are also family assets in BC if income from the business was used for family purposes. Therefore, a husband cannot claim the business is "his" because his wife never stepped inside the door. In addition a wife's efficient running of the family home to allow her husband time to go to work is considered sufficient input into the business. And where a husband bought his wife a fur coat to wear to company affairs, the fur coat was deemed a family asset even though an inherited jewelry collection was not. I was an expert witness in an interesting divorce case a while ago. To put it into perspective, the family had lived in BC and California. He owned property in (Not the real places) Seattle and Bellingham and Victoria and she owned the residence in which two fairly large businesses operated. He owned one business he had before marriage and she owned a business they started after marriag and both businesses operated in BC and Washington and her business had operated in California, Washington and BC. I was an expert witnes for the valuation of the business, the valuation of the properties and the taxation thereon I was also at their wedding and had a personal interest in fairness. When my client had first come to me, I had simply said fifty / fifty. Unfortunately, the wife was not satisfied with 50 / 50 and went through three lawyers trying to get more because "after all" the residence and business premises were registered in her name. There was also a custody battle over the daughter. One of the better parts of the case was that testimony showed that the business premises/residence was in the new wife's name to keep it out of the hands of the previous wife and ditto for the ownership of the new business started after marriage. By the time the dust had settled, wife # 2 had spent (are you ready for this) $270,000 in lawyer's fees and received one/quarter of the house / business assets because she had proven herself that she was not really entitled to 1/2 even though the premises were registered in her name. Her ownership was a ruse which may have worked against ordinary creditors but failed under family law in BC. Wife number one had come back into the picture and without even showing up in court, the judge awarded her 1/2 of the value of the Seatle property (Washington Community property law) which had been bought during that marriage. Wife number two got no value for the business because she had not contributed to it and they had started the business in her name for anything new and the new business in her name had done more business than the old business which had just limped along while they had built up the new one. Her lawyer's bills were $120,000 more than she recieved for a settlement. If she had taken the original 50/50 (on value) offer, she would have received $300,000 and had no legal bills. Of course, husband quit working in his wife's business and it failed immediately. The judge awarded custody of the daughter to the mother and a year later, the daughter had voted with her feet and was living with dad. If you are divorcing, do your best to stay out of litigation. If your lawyer wants to write anything threatening and negative to your husband, change lawyers and find a mediator. If your mediator is not working find another mediator. If there is a custody issue, get hold of Michael and Carleen Brennan's excellent book, "CUSTODY FOR FATHERS". Mothers AND Fathers should read it. If we can both stop our posturing and our emotion, we will do better. Men can learn what not to do in a custody action and women can learn what not to do at the same time by reading this book. ISBN 0-9544157-4-0. If we stop the posturing, we will all do better. You can order direct fom the author at 1 (949) 646-9842 - Fax order to 1 (949) 646-3453 The price is $24.95 US and worth every cent. You can also buy it at a $10.00 discount for $15.00 new or $13.95 used at Amazon books at http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/stores/offering/list/-/0964415704/all/ref=dp_bb_a/104-4109833-6489558 Michael is best known as one of the two attorneys representing Donald Clark, Marsha's husband in their custody battle during the O J Simpson trial. His co-author and wife Carleen Brennan is from BC. Oh yes - you asked about tax. Whatever you split up now has no immediate tax consequences. Taxes occur when you decide to cashg inthe 401(K) or the RRSP you split or sell a business property or rented apartment or summer cabin, etc. Your advisonr should recognize the future tax consequences when you split up the assets. for instance $100,000 in a 401K and $100,000 equity in the family home are NOT the same. Neither is $100,000 equity in a 401K or RRSP the same as $100,000 equity in a rental apartment. In the US, the $100,000 401K bears full tax plus a 10% penalty (if taken out before 59 1/2 if not disabled in some manner) and the $100,000 equity ion the rental property may not be all taxable and if it is, the US will limit the tax to 20% and Canada will limit the tax to 24% or so and the RRSP or 401K can be taxed as high as 44% in Canada and even higher in the US. -
On February 11, 2008, David Ingram wrote:

It is very unlikely that blind or unexpected email to me will be answered.  I receive anywhere from 100 to 700  unsolicited emails a day and usually answer anywhere from 2 to 20 if they are not from existing clients.  Existing clients are advised to put their 'name and PAYING CUSTOMER' in the subject line and get answered first.  I also refuse to be a slave to email and do not look at it every day and have never ever looked at it when I am out of town. 
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However, I regularly search for the words"PAYING CUSTOMER" and always answer them first if they did not get spammed out. For the last two weeks, I have just found out that my own email notes to myself have been spammed out and as an example, as I wrote this on Dec 25, 2007 since June 16th, my 'spammed out' box has 47,941 unread messages, my deleted box has 16645 I have actually looked at and deleted and I have actually answered 1234 email questions for clients and strangers without sending a bill.  I have also put aside 847 messages that I am maybe going to try and answer because they look interesting. -e bankruptcy expert  US Canada Canadian American  Mexican Income Tax service and  help
Therefore, if an email is not answered in 24 to 48 hours, it is likely lost in space.  You can try and resend it but if important AND YOU TRULY WANT OR NEED AN ANSWER from 'me', you will have to phone to make an appointment.  Gillian Bryan generally accepts appointment requests for me between 10:30 AM and 4:00 PM Monday to Friday VANCOUVER (Seattle, Portland, Los Angeles) time at (604) 980-0321.  david ingram expert  US Canada Canadian American  Mexican Income Tax  service and help.
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Phone consultations are $450 for 15 minutes to 50 minutes (professional hour). Please note that GST is added if product remains in Canada or is to be returned to Canada or a phone consultation is in Canada. ($472.50 with GST if in Canada) expert  US Canada Canadian American  Mexican Income Tax  service and help.
This is not intended to be definitive but in general I am quoting $900 to $3,000 for a dual country tax return.
$900 would be one T4 slip one W2 slip one or two interest slips and you lived in one country only (but were filing both countries) - no self employment or rentals or capital gains - you did not move into or out of the country in this year.
$1,200 would be the same with one rental
$1,300 would be the same with one business no rental
$1,300 would be the minimum with a move in or out of the country. These are complicated because of the back and forth foreign tax credits. - The IRS says a foreign tax credit takes 1 hour and 53 minutes.
$1,600 would be the minimum with a rental or two in the country you do not live in or a rental and a business and foreign tax credits  no move in or out

$1,700 would be for two people with income from two countries

$3,000 would be all of the above and you moved in and out of the country.
This is just a guideline for US / Canadian returns
We will still prepare Canadian only (lives in Canada, no US connection period) with two or three slips and no capital gains, etc. for $200.00 up.
With a Rental for $400, two or three rentals for $550 to $700 (i.e. $150 per rental) First year Rental - plus $250.
A Business for $400 - Rental and business likely $550 to $700
And an American only (lives in the US with no Canadian income or filing period) with about the same things in the same range with a little bit more if there is a state return.
Moving in or out of the country or part year earnings in the US will ALWAYS be $900 and up.
TDF 90-22.1 forms are $50 for the first and $25.00 each after that when part of a tax return.
8891 forms are generally $50.00 to $100.00 each.
18 RRSPs would be $900.00 - (maybe amalgamate a couple)
Capital gains *sales)  are likely $50.00 for the first and $20.00 each after that.

Catch - up returns for the US where we use the Canadian return as a guide for seven years at a time will be from $150 to $600.00 per year depending upon numbers of bank accounts, RRSP's, existence of rental houses, self employment, etc. Note that these returns tend to be informational rather than taxable.  In fact, if there are children involved, we usually get refunds of $1,000 per child per year for 3 years.  We have done several catch-ups where the client has recieved as much as $6,000 back for an $1,800 bill and one recently with 6 children is resulting in over $12,000 refund. 

This is a guideline not etched in stone.  If you do your own TDF-90 forms, it is to your advantage. However, if we put them in the first year, the computer carries them forward beautifully.
This from "ask an income trusts tax service and immigration expert" from www.centa.com or www.jurock.com or www.featureweb.com. David Ingram deals on a daily basis with expatriate tax returns with multi jurisdictional cross and trans border expatriate problems  for the United States, Canada, Mexico, Great Britain, United Kingdom, Kuwait, Dubai, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Indonesia, Japan, China, New Zealand, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Russia, Georgia, Brazil, Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia, Scotland, Ireland, Hawaii, Florida, Montana, Morocco, Israel, Iraq, Iran, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Mali, Bangkok, Greenland, Iceland, Cuba, Bahamas, Bermuda, Barbados, St Vincent, Grenada,, Virgin Islands, US, UK, GB, and any of the 43 states with state tax returns, etc. Rockwall, Dallas, San Antonio Houston, Denmark, Finland, Sweden Norway Bulgaria Croatia Income Tax and Immigration Tips, Income Tax  Immigration Wizard Antarctica Rwanda Guru  Consultant Specialist Section 216(4) 216(1) NR6 NR-6 NR 6 Non-Resident Real Estate tax specialist expert preparer expatriate anti money laundering money seasoning FINTRAC E677 E667 105 106 TDF-90 Reporting $10,000 cross border transactions Grand Cayman Aruba Zimbabwe South Africa Namibia help USA US Income Tax Convention. Advice on bankruptcy  e bankruptcy expert  US Canada Canadian American  Mexican Income Tax service and help .

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