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January 2014 Archives

Pets and divorce

Many Washington couples consider their pets as a part of their family. However, they may be shocked to learn that the law does not agree. If the couple decides to divorce, pets are considered to be property, like cars and homes, and the family pet will likely be included in a property settlements. With nearly 63 percent of households owning pets, it is not surprising that custody battles involving pets are increasing. According to a survey of a group of divorce attorneys, about 25 percent of respondents noticed an increase in pet custody cases.

Changing marriage laws affect divorce laws

In a case with implications for same-sex couples in Washington and across the nation, a federal court decided that Utah's laws that ban same-sex marriage are unconstitutional. Now that same-sex marriage is legal in the state, those same couples can seek a divorce if their relationship doesn't work out. One woman told her story of going to Connecticut in 2010 to legally marry her wife. However, they knew within months that their marriage wouldn't work. One woman stayed in the house while the other found another place to live.

Can crisis in Jewish community be averted with divorce mediation?

Jewish women in Washington state may want to heed the lessons learned by a woman who was legally, but not religiously, divorced from her ex-husband, a devout Orthodox Jew. To avoid her situation, divorce mediation is suggested. They did not enter such a process, however, and two years after the courts dissolved their marriage, her ex-husband had not provided her what is called a "get," a religious divorce in the Orthodox community. Without that get, she was not permitted to date or remarry within her religious group. According to a recent report, her situation was not unique.

A case of complex asset division in high asset divorce

A recent appellate court decision may impart valuable advice to Washington residents wanting to prevent protracted dispute over complex asset division during divorce. The litigants were a couple who executed a prenuptial agreement to exempt all gifts, inheritances and personal business profits from equitable property division in the event of marital dissolution. During their marriage, the woman quit her career to stay home with the couple's four children, and the man built a telecom business that became successful within a year of their high asset divorce. When he later defaulted on court-ordered spousal and child support payments of more than $4,500, the ex-wife went back to court. Her ex-husband pleaded lack of income caused by no longer having an ownership interest in the company and subsistence solely on gifts from his former business partner and in-laws.