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Spokane Family Law Blog

Get organized before your divorce

Once you and your spouse have decided to go your separate ways, it is important that you make sure you do everything in your power to protect yourself financially and ensure that you are prepared for the future. Experts suggest that getting organized can help you get what you want out of the divorce.

First, experts say you should make a list of your assets and accounts, including bank statements, insurance policy information, investment account information, real estate deeds, credit card information, and loan documents. You should also make sure you collect non-financial documents, such as your will and premarital agreements. Once you have all the documents you need, you will need to find a way to organize them so that you can retrieve them quickly when needed. For example, you can put all real estate documents in the same file (e.g. mortgage information, deed, valuation), so that you can easily give them to your divorce attorney or financial advisor when the time comes.

Don't make these expensive divorce mistakes

Is your divorce going to cost you? Some divorce mistakes can have a massive financial impact.

After all, divorce will change your financial picture. You and your ex still have a lot of the same expenses -- housing, utilities, retirement savings, etc. -- but you both have to cover the costs on your own. You also get cut back to one income with which to do it. Even the very wealthy feel the financial impact.

If your spouse is a divorcee, your divorce odds increase

When you married your spouse, you knew that they had gotten married and divorced before. It was no secret when you met. They were very upfront about it and told you about their past.

In fact, they even said that it would make their marriage to you stronger because they had learned from the mistakes they made the first time around. Think of it like practicing for that second marriage, they said. Now they were good at it, and practice makes perfect. You felt confident that it made your marriage even more secure.

Gray divorce brings unique challenges

Statistics show that gray divorce, or divorce among adults 50 years of age and older, is on the rise for multiple reasons. According to Pew Research, gray divorce has increased 109 percent over the past 25 years. If in the later stages of life and considering divorce, there are unique challenges.

While younger couples have plenty of opportunities to earn additional income and assets in the future, couples in their 50's and 60's are typically close to retirement or have already retired. With no new assets coming in, it can be difficult for soon-to-be exes to divide up the assets they have already accumulated. Fortunately, in community property states like Washington, this process can be straightforward as all marital property will be divided evenly between the spouses.

The importance of a positive attitude toward co-parenting

Divorcing is a complicated process that often brings up strong emotions for both parties involved. In addition to sadness over the end of your marriage, you may feel excited about the prospect of a fresh start.

For couples who share children, however, there is no such thing as a clean break in a divorce. You and your ex will continue to see one another regularly via shared custody, likely for the rest of your lives. In other words, while you may have strong, negative emotions toward your ex, you need to start working on letting those go as soon as you enter the divorce process.

Study shows an increase in divorce filings at this time of year

According to a study by sociologists at the University of Washington, we are right in the middle of divorce season. From January to March, once the holiday season has come and gone, many couples decide to file for divorce. The study revealed that the nationwide yearly divorce rate is 11.67 per 1000 married people over the age of 15. In our state, the divorce rate is slightly higher than the average at 12.06 per 1000 married people.

If in a state like Illinois and New York, one is generally less likely to get married, and the people that do get married are less likely to get divorced. However, the divorce rate is generally much higher in states where people are more likely to get married, such as Idaho and Arkansas.

Protecting your finances during a divorce

If spouses have decided to call it quits, their long-term financial stability may not be the first thing on one's mind. However, experts advise that avoiding the following mistakes during divorce can help protect one's money and ensure that the post-divorce life starts off on the right foot.

Many Spokane residents do not have their financial records readily available, and when it comes time for a divorce, their spouses may not be so willing to hand over the information. It is very important to collect all financial paperwork before filing for divorce. Collect bank account statements, Social Security statements, records of any major purchases (e.g., the family home) and documentation of any improvements made to the family home.

The importance of prenuptial agreements

Earlier this month, Amazon CEO, Jeff Bezos, and wife MacKenzie, announced their intent to divorce. Bezos is known as the world's wealthiest man, with an estimated worth of $136 billion. However, Bezos and his wife reportedly did not have a prenuptial agreement, and may not have a postnuptial agreement either. Without these agreements in place, a high-asset divorce like theirs could get complicated as state laws often come into play.

Bezos and his wife reside in Washington, a community property state, where all money and property acquired during the marriage is considered community property and will generally be divided equally between the couple upon divorce. Not having a prenup agreement in place could be a costly mistake for Bezos, whose wealth could be cut in half once the divorce is finalized.

Gray divorce is on the rise

When you see a couple that remains married even when approaching retirement age, do you assume they'll stay married for the rest of their lives? They appear to be exactly what people mean when they say, "Til death do us part."

The reality, though, is anything but. Gray divorce, the term given to these late-life divorces, has increased dramatically in recent years. More and more often, these couples decide to call it quits.

Actor files for divorce to end long-term marriage with wife

Actor Forest Whitaker has enjoyed a long and successful career. His many pursuits in film and on television have brought joy and intrigue to the lives of Washington residents for decades. However, Whitaker has been in the news recently for something unrelated to his acting career: he recently decided to file for divorce from his wife.

Whitaker and his wife have been married for more than 20 years and share two adult children. While the end of their union is undoubtedly sad, there are a number of considerations that readers can take from it to understand the differences that couples may experience when they divorce after long-term marriages instead of after only a few years.

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