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Federal Way Divorce Law Blog

Divorce issues that may apply to Washington business owners

Most people who get married expect the relationship to last a lifetime. In many cases, that is exactly what happens, even if some hefty challenges are encountered along the way. In many other cases, however, marital problems give way to divorce proceedings. If a spouse preparing to divorce also happens to own a business, property division proceedings can be complex.

Washington operates under community property division guidelines. This means, a judge overseeing a divorce case will typically split all marital property and debt 50/50 between spouses. Certain issues, such as if a prenuptial agreement was signed before the marriage, may affect the ultimate outcome of property division proceedings.

Military divorce: Where to seek support when complications arise

It is often challenging and difficult to balance family life and military service. U.S. military service members in Washington and beyond are not alone in the sacrifices they make because their spouses and children play key roles toward their successful service as well. Military divorce often occurs when a particular marriage is unable to withstand the strain and pressure deployment and active service place on a personal relationship.

When a military spouse files for divorce or is served with papers to show that his or her spouse has done so, numerous issues may be of concern. Benefits, pension plans, deployment and parental rights can be complex issues that have a significant impact on the futures of all involved. Most military service members execute family care plans, which may be quite relevant to divorce proceedings.

Tips for dividing a home during a divorce

Dividing a home can be difficult for some couples in Washington who are getting a divorce. People may have a sentimental attachment to their home, particularly if they have raised a family there.

One option is for the couple to continue with joint ownership of the home. If this is the case, they will need to decide how they will pay for expenses associated with the home including the mortgage, utilities and other costs. In other cases, one person may want to buy out the other. This may involve a mortgage refinance to take the other person off the mortgage and sever any financial ties.

Business owners' concerns during a divorce

Business owners in Washington should take extra care in the decisions they make when they determine it is time to divorce. Small, closely held businesses are linked intimately to the owners' finances. In many cases, these firms are marital property up for distribution as part of the asset division process. Some people may find it easy to reach a settlement, especially when one spouse is more heavily involved in the company, and the people involved are relatively prosperous outside the business. One spouse may take a greater share of real estate or retirement funds in exchange for relinquishing a claim on the company.

However, the issue can be more complicated when the company reflects the bulk of a couple's marital assets, or it is obvious that there is a substantial upside for the firm, like a planned upcoming investment. As a result, the divorce may not only affect the spouses' finances but also the business itself. Some companies may wind up with both spouses as holders of significant shares in the company, which can be challenging. In other cases, the business may take on significant debt to reach a buyout agreement with the other spouse.

Avoid these child custody and visitation problems

Like many Washington residents, a lot of celebrities have gone through divorce in recent years. Child custody and visitation is always a big concern for those who have kids. In their everyday lives, celebrities encounter many of the same personal challenges that other people do, especially regarding where their children will live and whether child support is a likely factor in their new lifestyle.

Some custody cases become contentious when parents do not agree on what is best for their children. It's always better to try to settle such disagreements amicably; otherwise, it could wind up causing legal problems. This was the case when Britney Spears refused to hand her kids over to their father, and it sparked a lengthy standoff with local police.

Understanding the reasons behind strategic divorce

Washington couples may be interested in learning why some spouses are willing to get a divorce to save money. This has been referred to as a strategic divorce. More individuals in a higher tax bracket may consider this option in light of the 2018 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. This piece of legislation means that a couple who is in the top 37% tax bracket has a higher liability if they file as a couple.

When looking at the situation from purely a tax standpoint, a couple may identify some financial benefits from being single. However, there are a number of unexpected financial ramifications that could impact a couple's finances. There are a lot of unforeseen consequences of a strategic divorce that people do not talk about.

There's something you should know about Washington divorce laws

Many married couples in Washington encounter relationship problems. Some seek counseling, confide in a friend or family member or tap into other resources to help them restore happiness in their marriages. Others file for divorce. This state operates under community property laws, which is definitely something anyone considering filing for divorce will want to learn more about before heading to court. 

Nine states, including Washington, use community property guidelines to divide marital assets in divorce. In most states, equitable distribution principles apply, meaning that marital property is divided fairly -- though not necessarily equally. In community property states, however, each spouse is considered an equal owner of all marital and debt, which are typically split 50/50.

Signs a couple may be headed for divorce

Washington couples who have gone through a divorce often say that it was not one major issue that drove them apart but a multitude of factors. In particular, there are a few common indicators that often show a marriage will end in divorce.

Mealtimes allow couples and families to bond as they have conversations about their thoughts, concerns and joys. When couples don't eat together, this could indicate that their marriage is headed for divorce. Some couples say that it is just too inconvenient to eat together, but the underlying problem may be that there is no family tie.

How is divorce in Washington different from other states?

Every marriage is unique. So is every divorce. Each state has its own laws and guidelines regarding all the issues that couples must resolve when they decide to end their marriage. Washington is one of only nine states that operates under community property laws, which can greatly affect a particular outcome in court.

In this state, community property is basically defined as possessions and ownership interests acquired during marriage. It also refers to debt that a spouse or spouses incurred while married. Under these laws, community property is typically equally divided between spouses in divorce.