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Spokane Family Law Blog

What information is required to file for divorce in Washington?

As in other American jurisdictions, the State of Washington requires individuals who wish to file for divorce to provide certain pieces of information in their divorce pleadings. This post will discuss the requirements that the divorce plaintiff or initial petitioner must meet; readers of this blog are reminded that they should seek their own legal advice as they prepare to file for divorce to ensure all of the legal requirements applicable to their cases are met.

In order for a party to file for divorce in Washington, they must be a resident of the state or must be a service member stationed within Washington. In their pleading, the plaintiff must state where and when they married their spouse and where each resides at the time of the divorce filing. If the plaintiff and their spouse share children, then the initial pleading must state the children's names and ages and the petitioner must also include information on any separation that they and their spouse are undertaking.

Alimony and child support have different tax consequences

When the members of a family live together and the parents of the family work and earn incomes, generally the money they bring in is pooled together for the support and maintenance of everyone in the household. However, when parents separate or divorce and divide their incomes to support two different households, the financial maintenance of the family's members can become more subject to change. In Washington and other American jurisdictions, courts can assign some parties to pay child support and spousal support, also called alimony, for the care of those individuals who no longer live in the payers' homes.

How those payments are classified can make a big impact, though, on whether they are tax deductible for the paying party. For example, alimony or spousal support can be tax deductible for the paying party and included in the income of the recipient if it is for cash or a cash equivalent, given pursuant to a divorce order or agreement, paid to one's ex and meets several other criteria.

Don't lose contact with grandkids after your child's divorce

A Washington divorce is a legal process that breaks the legal bonds two people established between themselves through marriage. It separates their lives on many levels, allowing the formerly married parties to live separate and apart from each other, maintain new marital relationships, and hold title to property to the exclusion of their former spouses.

Divorce, though, also has an emotional component that may present itself particularly if the divorcing parties shared children. Along with negotiations over how the kids' custody should be managed and what amount of support would be appropriate for the noncustodial parent to pay, families may feel the strain of seeing less and less of each other as the divorce parents settle into their new single lives.

Financial considerations before creating a prenup

While a Spokane couple may not want to think about how they will divide up wealth and property if the union ends in divorce, many couples find doing so to be necessary and helpful. Effectively, creating a prenuptial agreement, also known as a prenup, is doing just this. It is the negotiation of the parties' assets and debts into a property settlement plan that will save them time and possibly money if they choose to bring their marriage to its legal end.

When considered in this light it may be surprising that any couple would want to engage in prenuptial discussions before saying its "I do's". However, for some individuals creating prenups is not only responsible but an important step in preserving the assets and wealth that they have accumulated prior to joining their lives with their significant others.

The impact of a Washington divorce on your retirement

You spend much of your adult life saving funds in the hope of having a secure and comfortable retirement. Now, sadly, you and your spouse have reached an impasse and divorce seems inevitable. You're probably worried about a number of things, from who gets primary physical custody of your children to the best way to divide your assets and your various debts, like credit cards.

Your retirement accounts and pension should be a major focus of this consideration, as careful planning is the best way to ensure you and your spouse can still have a proper retirement, even after your divorce get finalized.

A child's best interests should guide custody during divorce

Divorce can be the result when two married people find that they are no longer able to live together or function as a cohesively united pair. Although divorce does not have to be a challenging, acrimonious process, it can be very difficult to settle some of the vitally important matters that arise when two Spokane residents choose to end their legal relationship. One matter that can pose significant trials for divorcing parties is how to responsibly manage the custody of the children they share. In Washington courts and courts throughout many American jurisdictions, child custody decisions should be made after considering the best interests of the children.

It is important that readers of this post understand that the best interests of children will vary and be subjective to the unique needs of the family affected by the divorce proceedings. As such, when a court evaluates a child's best interests it will consider a number of factors, only some of which will be discussed in the following paragraphs.

Country singer files for divorce from actor husband

It may seem as though celebrity couples live charmed lives full of glamor and wealth. As Spokane residents read about them in newspapers and magazines, they may imagine how different their lives might be if they too were rich and famous. However, actors, singers and others who work in the entertainment industry are subject to the same heartaches and pain as regular people who must endure difficulties in their personal lives.

Just recently a popular country singer decided to end her long-term marriage from her actor husband. Natalie Maines, a member of the musical group the Dixie Chicks, decided to end her marriage to Adrian Pasdar, an actor who has starred on television programs for years. The famous couple share two sons who are still minors and as such their divorce may include negotiations regarding child support, child custody and visitation.

Special considerations for your military divorce

As a military member, you may be wondering how your divorce differs from a civilian divorce. In general, military divorces are very similar to those for civilians. However, there are a few difference and special circumstances you may need to consider before you even begin the process.

If you are a service member and considering divorce, it is important to find the right attorney to help you with the process. A lawyer in the Spokane area with military divorce experience can help you with the filing requirements and what to expect when it comes time to handle custody and property division issues.

Who pays what debts during a Washington divorce?

One of the most complicated aspects of getting divorced in Washington is often figuring out how to divide assets and debts. You may want to receive certain assets, or you may feel that you shouldn't have to help pay off debts accumulated by your former spouse. It can be frustrating, if you married a spendthrift, to have to accept a massive load of debt that you didn't accumulate during the marriage. Generally speaking, except in special or rare circumstances, you will be expected to pay half of the debt, regardless of who spent the money.

In cases of pre-existing debts, like student loans that originated before you married, you won't get stuck paying it off. Other debts, even student loans that got taken out during the marriage, could end up split evenly between you and your former spouse. Just like you will both share evenly in the assets you accrued during the marriage, the courts expect you both to pay a fair amount of the debts you built during the marriage as well. Regardless of who spent the money or whose name is on the account, debts from during your marriage will likely end up shared during a divorce.

Third parties may have custody, support rights and obligations

The concept of a family has undergone a beautiful evolution over time. While once a family only consisted of a mother, father, and any children that may have been born from their union, it now extends to single parent households, blended households, households where grandparents raise their grandchildren, households with two parents of the same sex and other combinations driven by affiliation and love.

In Washington and states throughout the nation, though, familial relationships tend to be created in one of two ways - through blood or through marriage. A blood relationship is formed when one person descends from another or from a common ancestor; a legal relationship is formed when two people marry each other or a person is adopted by one or more individuals.

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