“What Are ‘Watts’ Claims?”

Watts claims, sometimes called Watts charges, are charges which one party to a divorce claims should be counted against the community property share of the other party at the time of dissolution. They involve the use of a community asset by one party only, such as a car or a house. The claim is based on the fact that only one party is getting the use of the asset during the divorce process.

There are two things to keep in mind with these credits. First, if there is a cost associated with the asset—a mortgage payment or car payment or other payment—the party who has the asset is generally responsible for making that payment, which removes any Watts claim. Also, the courts usually and customarily require a party who wants to receive a Watts claim to notify the other party in writing of that intent so that the party who has the asset can decide whether or not they want maintain sole possession and use. Watts claims generally only start after the issuance of such a notice.

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