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Spokane Family Law Blog

Should you hold joint birthday parties after divorcing?

You and your spouse get divorced and you have a 5-year-old child together. During the whole process, you try to put your child first. You set up a joint custody schedule so that the child still gets to see you and your ex, for instance, and you try to make the transition as easy as you can.

While doing this, you run into an important question: What do you do about birthdays? Do you have that celebration together, or is a joint birthday party just asking for trouble?

Red flags: Is your marriage headed for divorce?

You know divorce may happen, but you do not want it to come as a surprise. You are constantly wondering just how strong your relationship really is. Maybe you've heard friends or family members talk about how they thought their marriages were rock-solid until they got blindsided by divorce papers.

To help you, here are a few red flags to watch out for:

How will community property laws affect my divorce?

Washington is a community property state. This means that any property that is considered marital will, in most instances, be split evenly between the two parties to a divorce. Therefore, it is important that readers understand what the state considers to be marital property in order to understand how the community property laws of the jurisdiction will impact their divorces.

Marital property is property that is not separate property. Separate property may include property that a person was gifted and that was not also gifted to their spouse. It may include money or property received exclusively by one party to a marriage through an inheritance. It may also include property that a spouse owned before they got married and that was not later converted to marital property during their marriage.

What to include in a Washington child support agreement

Parents may elect to allow their divorce courts to establish the parameters of their child support obligations, but they may also choose to create their own agreements regarding this important topic. Though courts generally must approve the child support agreements that parents make, parents can smooth this process over by including in their agreements the necessary terms that will bind them. All readers are asked to discuss how child support will be addressed in their legal cases with their attorneys; this post will briefly review some of the elements that child support agreements should cover.

A child support agreement should identify what the child support may be used for in the life of the child. For example, child support generally may be used for providing a child with their basic needs, such as food and shelter. However, access to health insurance, educational expenses, travel needs, extracurricular expenses and other financial concerns should also be included in child support agreements.

Could mediation help you file an uncontested Washington divorce?

No matter how strongly you feel about your ex, divorce does not need to be a contentious, protracted court battle. You will have the option in Washington state to file for an uncontested divorce. In an uncontested divorce, you and your ex agree to terms about issues like asset division and custody arrangements. The courts simply review the documents to ensure everything complies with state law and then finalize the end of your marriage.

You might think that if you don't agree with your ex about terms, then you can't file an uncontested divorce. However, mediation presents an opportunity to find workable solutions to the terms of your divorce and file for a faster and less expensive uncontested divorce.

How will my prenup influence the outcome of my divorce?

A prenuptial agreement is a contract that two people may draft and execute prior to their marriage. In it they may make certain decisions about how they will categorize certain items of property, what financial obligations they will be bound to if they divorce, and what responsibilities each will have during the tenure of their marital relationship. In Washington and other states throughout the country, prenuptial agreements can be invalidated if they were created through force, duress or otherwise compelled by one of the parties to the detriment of the other.

Therefore, a prenuptial agreement can have a lot of influence on certain topics relevant to a divorce. A prenuptial agreement may dictate how spousal support should be paid and for how long. It may explain what property is considered separate and what is marital for the purposes of dividing it in a divorce-related settlement. It may also describe the ways in which debts should be paid in the event the party's marriage does not last.

Tax implications of alimony will change at the end of the year

Earlier this year the Federal government passed an overhaul to the tax system that made some major changes to the way that Americans will be required to pay their hard-earned money over to the government. One of those changes will impact men and women who plan to divorce and who will be parties to alimony agreements or orders. Alimony is an obligation that survives a marriage and that requires one person to provide financial support to the other after their legal relationship has ended.

Through this year, individuals in Washington and throughout the rest of the nation have been able to deduct from their taxes the money that they pay to their exes as alimony. However, come 2019 those payments will no longer be tax deductible. As such, people enter into alimony obligations in 2019 will not be able to enjoy this tax benefit.

What are a stepparent's responsibilities to their stepkids?

A person who marries another person who has children from a previous relationship becomes a stepparent to those kids. The stepparent-stepchild relationship can be a special one, but not all Washington residents who enter into these associations know what their rights and responsibilities are with regard to the children of their new partners. This post will generally discuss what role a stepparent may play in the life of their stepchild, but as with all legal matters readers should seek their own advice to have their legal questions answered.

First and foremost, a stepparent is not a parent to their partner's kids. It is presumed that the children have two parents - their parent who is now married to their stepparent and their other biological parent. The remarriage of one parent does not sever the parental rights of the other parent, and as such a marriage between a parent and a new partner does not make the new partner a parent to their children.

Steps you can take in Washington to enforce child support

Custodial parents often hope that the end of the divorce proceedings means the end of conflict. After all, children who witness a lot of hostility between their parents could internalize more of the negativity of the divorce. Unfortunately, not all divorces end when the judge signs your divorce decree.

It is relatively common for the non-custodial parent to refuse to pay child support. If the kids live with you, you probably incur a lot of expenses above and beyond the appointed amount of court-ordered support.

Support considerations for a Washington divorce

While it can be easy to focus one's attention on the emotional aspects of a divorce there are a number of financial issues that must be handled as well. For example, if and how the parties will manage an alimony agreement or order must be managed. The parties must also address how they will ensure that their children are financially provided for.

Alimony is money that one spouse pays to the other so that the recipient spouse can get back on their feet once their marriage is over. It is not applicable in all divorce cases because in some situations the parties may both emerge with the capacities to provide for themselves. In marriages where one partner gave up employment opportunities or work to support the other and their shared family alimony is commonly awarded to give the recipient a chance to get back on their feet.

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