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Federal Way Divorce Law Blog

Parents often struggle over child custody issues

When parents in Washington decide to divorce, child custody can be one of the most emotionally painful and logistically difficult issues. Both mothers and fathers often lament that they receive unfair treatment in family court on child custody issues. That's why the process often leads to a great deal of bitterness. This can be especially troubling when both parents will need to work together for years in the future for parenting issues related to the children.

It can be difficult for parents to deal with the responsibilities of full-time work and child-raising, and these pressures can also come to the forefront in child custody cases. It can be particularly drawn-out when the two sides are unable to reach an agreement about key principles about how custody will be handled, leaving the court to make a decision. Decisions about child custody and support can be particularly problematic when parents go through significant life changes after the initial order was established.

What's the best way to protect a business during divorce?

If you're getting a divorce and you also own a business, you're probably concerned about how assets will be distributed. Fortunately, there are certain steps Washington business owners can take to ensure their enterprise is safeguarded, both before and during a marriage. Inc. explains a few of these options and how they can benefit you.  

Premarital agreements

Divorce cost may be set to change

Divorcing spouses in Washington State who have been working hard to come to a final settlement when ending their marriage may well have a new reason to try and push for a quick resolution. As explained by Bloomberg, the New Year will bring with it a major change to divorce taxes when it comes to alimony payments and this change may well increase the cost of divorces, especially for couples with high incomes.

Historically, if one spouse was required to pay alimony to a former partner, the tax liability for those payments resided with the person who received the money. In addition, the person who made the payments was allowed to deduct the payments from their tax return. This tax deduction in many cases provided a way for people to agree to paying spousal support and therefore helped to facilitate a final divorce settlement. 

How to avoid some common financial missteps in divorce

Divorce can be costly, but people in Washington may be able to keep the cost down by avoiding some common mistakes. For example, this is not the time go on a spending spree no matter how good it feels, because those bills will need to be paid eventually.

A financial plan may help people avoid this and similar errors. For example, such a plan may make it clear to a person that it is not possible to keep the family home because the mortgage and upkeep are too expensive. People should make sure to avoid unnecessary taxes and penalties. This means having the correct paperwork to make a distribution from a 401(k) and an IRA to roll it into. There could also be taxes from liquidating assets to pay for bills, so people should be aware of these before using this as a solution.

3 tips if you are on the verge of a high-asset divorce

If you and your spouse share a significant asset portfolio, divorce can be devastating to your financial future. However, divorce is not something that usually happens overnight. Many divorcing couples saw the writing on the wall for quite some time before making the actual decision to divorce. 

In a high-asset divorce, this advance preparation can help you take certain steps and make strategic decisions that to protect your financial future. If you are on the verge of a divorce that involves high net worth, read on for some essential tips you should know before approaching your divorce proceedings.

What happens to military pension after divorce?

As a Washington resident involved in a divorce from a military service member, you may have questions about what will happen to your military spouse’s pension and whether you will have any access to it once your divorce finalizes. Military pension often falls among the more substantial assets today’s military couples must divide during a divorce, and while every state in the nation considers military pension as shared property, the guidelines surrounding how to split it are less clear.

In fact, there is no single, one-size-fits-all formula associated with splitting military pension after a marital breakdown, but the Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act does provide some additional information that may help you find the answers you seek.

Moving in before marriage could elevate divorce rate

Many Americans think that living together before tying the knot is helpful for a relationship. However, one study says that Washington couples who move in together before getting married may actually be more likely to divorce. According to the study, partners who share a home before marriage are more inclined to face difficult issues down the road during marriage. The issue had been noticed in prior studies as well, but some speculated that it would eventually even out as premarital cohabitation became more socially acceptable.

Researchers said that the divorce risk for people who move in together before marriage does decrease in the first year of marriage. When people marry without prior experience of living together, they may have a more difficult time adjusting to married life. However, the study's authors said that in the long term, people who lived together before marriage are more likely to eventually divorce. Researchers based their conclusions on an analysis of data for American women 44 and younger who married for the first time between 1970 and 2015.

Best way to deal with custody and the holidays

For many people in Washington, the holidays present the opportunity to celebrate and spend more time with family and friends. For newly-divorced parents, however, this time of the year can be extremely hard. It typically means spending less time with their children than normal and, if the parents cannot agree on how to divide time, it can also be stressful and infuriating.  

FindLaw outlines some tips on how to deal with the holidays, and one of the biggest ones is to put the needs of the kids first. Part of this is keeping conflict to a minimum, planning ahead and keeping the lines of communication open. The parents should discuss holiday plans well in advance so that everyone is on the same page, and if the kids are old enough they should be involved with the planning as well. Depending on the specific plans and the distance between both parents, children may be able to split time in between both households for each holiday or they may have to alternate years.

How 'gray divorce' can affect retirement

Many Washington residents are counting on their 401(k) plans and other retirement accounts to provide a good living in their later years. However, despite all the work that people can do to save for retirement, life events can throw a spanner in the works. For example, the divorce rate among Americans age 50 and up has doubled in the past 20 years. When people choose to divorce over 50, their retirement assets could be significantly impacted, and they may have fewer years during which to recover from the blow.

Retirement funds can be some of the largest marital assets held by a couple of any age. They become far more significant to people divorcing later in life because the funds will be needed in the relatively near future. In addition, it costs more to pay for two single retirements than it does one joint retirement. Therefore, dividing a retirement fund in half doesn't leave either partner as well off as they were before they began the process.

Social and lifestyle clauses in prenups

Couples in Washington State who are engaged or considering getting engaged should approach this major life milestone with excitement, anticipation and some practical planning. The engagement period should be about more than just planning a wedding but focus as much, if not more so, on planning a life together. A prenuptial agreement can actually facilitate that in some unique ways.

As explained by MarketWatch, some couples today are using prenups to go beyond the traditional clauses that identify the distribution or separation of assets in the event of a divorce. This is still a viable benefit of a marital contract but people are now finding that these agreements can outline some parameters for how each spouse may or may not behave while married regardless of whether or not the couple ever got divorced.