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Spokane Family Law Blog

Protecting your post-divorce finances

As a married couple in Washington, you and your spouse likely got used to a certain lifestyle and learned to manage your finances together. If divorce is in your imminent future however, you may have to make certain changes to ensure you can maintain your financial stability post-divorce.

The first step should be implementing a budget for your life after divorce and focusing on your immediate needs. You may find that you need a new place to live, a new vehicle and new insurance under your own name, on top of necessities such as food and gas. Once you have a few months of post-divorce life under your belt, you can turn your attention to long-term goals such as saving for retirement or college. It is also important that you keep aside money to cover the costs of the actual divorce.

Military deployments can make child custody complicated

Child custody situations often grow complicated when parents want to move for their careers. When that career is in the military, it can become even more complex than many people realize.

For instance, perhaps a military member has joint custody with their ex. When they're stationed at their home base, it's a simple matter of exchanging the children once a week, as any other parent would. But how does that change when they get deployed? It can happen quickly, they may be gone for weeks or months, and it's clear that the standard child custody plan is not going to work.

Brandon and Leah Jenner finalize divorce settlement

Even when a divorce is amicable, it can be difficult for couples in Spokane to come to an agreement on child custody arrangements, property division and other common divorce issues. Brandon Jenner, son of Caitlyn Jenner and Linda Thompson, and Leah Jenner, daughter of Eagles guitarist Don Felder, were married for six years before deciding to divorce in September 2018. Brandon and Leah recently reached a divorce settlement, with July 15 listed as their official date of divorce.

The former couple apparently agreed to share both joint legal and physical custody of their 4-year-old daughter. Vacations and holidays with their daughter will be divided evenly between them. The agreement also states that Brandon will pay $2,000 a month in spousal support until the end of 2021, as well as $2,000 a month in child support until their daughter's 18th birthday.

How is retirement affected by divorce?

Nowadays, more and more people are waiting until they are older to end their marriages. According to the Pew Research Center, the divorce rate has approximately doubled since 1990 for people over the age of 50. While divorcing later in life has its advantages, there are also additional concerns for older divorcing couples to consider.

One major divorce issue for older couples in Washington is financial stability. Many people over the age of 50 are retired and should be aware that divorce can impact their Social Security benefits, IRAs, 401(k)s, and various assets, including houses.

Children and lashing out during divorce

As you may know, a divorce can have a negative impact on children. It's not always true that they act out, but some children may as a way of exhausting their emotions. If they aren't sure how else to get their point across or don't have the emotional tools to find productive ways to state their grievances, sadness or anger, then children may act out instead.

Emotional challenges are common for some children following a separation or divorce. As a parent, it's your job to make sure you talk to them about the divorce and help guide them through it. If, however, they are not responding well after a few weeks of talks and support, then it may be time to call a family therapist or children's therapist.

Protecting your money during a divorce

In the past, it was generally assumed that once a couple got married they would combine their finances by creating a joint bank account. Nowadays, however, many couples, particularly "millennials," are choosing to keep their finances separate even after marriage. A survey by the Bank of America revealed that close to 28 percent of married millennials, compared to only 11 percent of "Gen Xers" and 13 percent of "Baby Boomers" are keeping their money separate from their spouse.

Couples who keep their finances separate may also be trying to avoid the complications of property division if they ever get divorced. However, experts say that just because an asset or bank account is in your name, doesn't mean it will automatically go to you in the divorce.

The right information every step of your divorce

For most couples, getting a divorce is a painful and difficult process, emotionally and otherwise. Even if you and your spouse are on good terms and agree on most issues at the beginning, things can easily change by the end. It is easy for divorcing spouses to let their emotions cloud their judgment and, as a result, they make mistakes that affect them negatively for years to come. The right information can set you up for success as a newly single man or woman living in Washington, and help you avoid these costly mistakes.

At our law firm, we are experienced in all kinds of family law matters, from contested divorce to custody disputes. Many divorcing parents, for example, say that coming up with an effective parenting plan is their number one priority, so that their children can continue living happy, stable lives. Divorcing couples without children may be more focused on dividing up the marital assets or spousal support to set themselves up financially for the future.

Don't put your kids in the middle of your divorce

You and your spouse don't get along, so you've separated. You're going through the motions, making sure you divorce correctly, but you've already roughly worked out custody plans for your kids.

The trouble is that the plans aren't yet 100%, and there are times when you and your estranged spouse have to talk. Those times tend to end up in screaming matches, so to avoid it, you've both been sending messages through your children.

Grandparents now have the right to seek visitation with grandkids

Being a grandparent is an incredible, rewarding time. You have all the joy and love that comes from watching a child mature and develop, but there is less strain than is often found in the typically fraught parent-child relationship. Many grandparents treasure their unique and special bond with their grandchildren.

That makes it all the more tragic when families encounter circumstances that interfere in that relationship. Perhaps you have a falling out with your child, and they don't want to let you stop by to visit your grandchild anymore. Maybe there's been a divorce, and your child completely lost custody. Now, your former son- or daughter-in-law doesn't want you to see the kids.

What happens if you lose your job during a divorce?

You and your spouse are getting a divorce and have already begun the process when suddenly, one of you loses your job. How will this change in circumstances effect the proceedings? While every situation is different, there are certain things you can do help yourself during this challenging time.

Your income and your spouse's current incomes play an important role when it comes to determining spousal support and child support. For instance, a higher earning spouse may be expected to pay a certain amount each month to a lesser-earning spouse to provide them with financial support to help them get back on their feet after the divorce. Washington courts also will often enter your income and your spouse's income, as well as the child's expenses, into a formula to calculate how much child support is owed by the non-custodial parent each month.

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