Everett Family Law Blog

The best way to prepare your finances for divorce

With so much going through your mind as you move toward the divorce process, it's possible to overlook various details. For example, there's a lot to think about in regard to your finances.

Here are five things you can do to prepare your finances for divorce:

  • Review your budget: Your income and expenses are sure to be different in the future, so now's the time to review your budget and make the necessary changes. For example, if your spouse was the primary breadwinner during your marriage, you must implement a plan for earning your own income.
  • Track expenses: With your finances changing in many ways, tracking your expenses will give you a clear idea of how much money you need to live. This will also position you to eliminate any non-essential expenses.
  • Gather all necessary documentation: This can vary from one person to the next, but it's good to start with bank account statements, retirement account statements, credit card statements, investment account statements, recent pay stubs, a list of assets and debts, and income tax returns.
  • Don't make big purchases: You're going through a difficult time in your life, so you may be tempted to make a few big purchases, such as a new car, to help you feel better. Don't do this before your divorce, as it can complicate the property division process.
  • Review your estate plan: Don't make any decisions until your divorce is final, but review your estate plan with the idea of adjusting it in the future. For instance, you probably want to remove your ex-spouse as your beneficiary. You should also review guardian designations, life insurance policies and powers of attorney, among other key documents.

Separate accounts not ideal for protecting money during divorce

Ending a marriage is an unfortunately common occurrence for many families. In fact, many Washington couples whose parents went through divorces are taking steps to simplify the process in case their own marriages do not last. For some, this means prenuptial agreements, but others are taking a shortcut. By keeping their own incomes and earnings in separate bank accounts, some couples believe they can protect their money from property division during a divorce. However, this is not always the case.

Since Washington is one of a handful of community property states, the assets couples acquire during their marriages are community property by law. These marital assets are divided equally between the spouses during divorce. Even if only one spouse's name is on a bank account, a divorce court could require that spouse to divide the contents with his or her former partner.

Life after divorce: How prepared are you?

Making a decision to divorce is definitely one of the biggest life-changing decisions a person can make. While most Washington spouses think seriously before filing a divorce petition, many neglect to think far enough ahead to prepare themselves for what lies ahead. Adapting to a post-divorce lifestyle isn't always easy.

Some people make the mistake of rushing right back into dating after they finalize a divorce. However, it might be best to take some time to adjust to living alone and to become comfortable being a single parent before adding a new dynamic to the situation. In fact, many people find they enjoy being on their own, perhaps even taking up new hobbies, switching jobs or doing some traveling.

Helpful tips for taking the stress out of shared custody

Divorce can be difficult for everyone in the family, especially the children. Although it isn't easy for parents divorcing each other, their children often need more support during and after the divorce. The more argumentative and difficult the divorce becomes, the more significant the emotional toll on the children.

Parents who can find a way to work together during their divorce and as co-parents afterward can substantially reduce the damage divorce causes to the emotional well-being of the children in the family. However, if you have reached a point in your marriage where divorce is the only option, it may be hard to find a way to relate to your ex in a healthy and positive manner.

Do you have reason to suspect a hidden asset problem in divorce?

Washington is a community property state. It is one of only nine states in the U.S. that operate under community property regulations in divorce. Since spouses typically must split all marital assets 50/50, it is easy to see why full financial disclosure is crucial to obtaining a fair settlement.

It can be quite challenging to determine what constitutes marital property and what does not. In many situations, spouses who want to try to gain the upper hand in property division proceedings will attempt to hide assets to keep them from being divided. A spouse who suspects this type of underhanded divorce behavior is wise to stay alert and to inquire about any issue that prompts concern.

Key facts about military service and divorce

For some military couples, their service makes their relationship stronger. They know that they are doing something they believe in and serving their country. That bond helps keep them close, and they enjoy it.

However, for many couples, the job may push them apart. Many experts have found that military couples have high divorce rates, suggesting that there is something about this profession that ends marriages. To understand why and how this happens, let's take a look at some key facts.

Daughter of deceased rap star focus of custody and parenting case

Many Washington residents are rap music fans who joined in mourning with others throughout the country when Nipsey Hussle was shot to death at his own clothing store on the West Coast. The singer, activist and entrepreneur was the father of a 10-year-old girl and her 2-year-old half-sibling. It is the older child who is the central focus on a recently filed custody and parenting case.

The situation involves the child's paternal aunt. She has petitioned the court for legal guardianship of her niece. In her petition, she has stated that she does not believe the child's biological mother is able to be a fit parent.

The difficulties of divorce during pregnancy

Being pregnant should be a joyful and exciting time, but if you are dealing with problems in your marriage, you may be stressed and fearful about the future of your family. Before taking action to file for divorce, you should evaluate the ways this could both help and hinder your situation.

Choosing whether to file for a divorce is a decision only you can make. If the relationship that you are in is abusive or makes you fearful, you should always take the appropriate steps to ensure the safety of yourself and your unborn child. If you are concerned about the financial and custodial implications of a divorce while pregnant, you should make the following considerations before filing for divorce.

Prepare for divorce by getting your paperwork in order

You'll have a lot going through your mind as you prepare for divorce. From questions about property division to child custody concerns, you'll always have another item on your to-do list.

There are many steps you can take to prepare for divorce, and getting your paperwork in order should be at the top of your list. Once you do this, you'll feel better about your ability to move forward in a concise and efficient manner.

Custody and parenting: Make sure your plan includes summer terms

When Washington parents file for divorce, it is common to encounter challenges regarding family issues, such as where the children will live and how their financial needs will be met in the future. No two custody and parenting situations are exactly the same. The good thing is that co-parents may tailor their agreements to fit their own circumstances and ultimate post-divorce goals.

Problems often arise during summer months because many co-parents neglect to incorporate specific terms and instructions for the eight or so weeks when their children are on vacation from school. It is quite common for both co-parents to work full-time outside their homes, which can make it tricky to devise a plan that fits in with both work schedules while providing for the daily supervision needs of the children involved. There are several things parents can do to avoid summer stress in a co-parenting situation.

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