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Federal Way Divorce Law Blog

Answering questions about your divorce in a comfortable way

While you are confident with your decision to get a divorce from your spouse in Washington, you openly acknowledge that other people may not see your decision as one that makes sense. In fact, you may have people openly express their disapproval or try to tell you that you did not try hard enough to make your relationship work. At Clement Law Center, we are committed to helping people who are facing the aftermath of separating from their spouse. 

Perhaps the most important thing to remember is that you owe no one an explanation. If people do not agree with your decision to separate from your spouse, remind yourself that they were not in your situation and do not have all of the facts and background. However, you can prepare to tell people about your divorce and answer questions in a manner that is informative without oversharing. You can also be polite in the way you discuss your divorce without talking rudely about your ex or coming across annoyed to the people inquiring for more information. 

What is supervised visitation?

Some divorcing parents in Washington are able to easily work out all aspects of the divorce, including a child custody agreement that both parents are happy to uphold. However, for others it is not so easy because they may have a complicated situation at home that prevents joint custody. There are even times when the court must get involved to be sure that a child is protected by ordering supervised visitation. But what exactly is supervised visitation?

According to Psychology Today, joint custody is the preferred approach when dealing with children whose parents’ relationship has dissolved. Both parents are able to spend a significant amount of time with their children in their own residences and they share parenting decisions. However, sometimes there is a situation where a judge may order that a parent only spend time with their child with a safe, neutral party present. This is known as “supervised visitation.”

Money and divorce

When couples get married in Washington, they usually do so with high hopes for their marriage. While it is expected that there will be a period of adjustment, most couples intend to remain married for the rest of their lives. Still, there is often an expectation that some couples will become less happy with their marriages over time, something that can lead to divorce.

A recent study examined this phenomenon of couples becoming less happy with each other and their relationship after several years of marriage and an initial "honeymoon period." Studies on this issue have generally focused on a specific demographic, namely white, middle-class couples. Researchers have begun to look at the way other demographics respond to the challenges of marriage. Of particular interest was the financial position of a married couple as conventional wisdom associates financial issues with potential marital problems.

Decide where to file for divorce

When Washington military couples decide to get a divorce, they may think it does not matter where they file. However, when it comes to filing for divorce, military families usually have more options than civilian families, and people may want to consider all of their options before they choose to file in a certain location.

For people to get a divorce, a court usually needs jurisdiction. FindLaw says this means the court can legally go over the case. Courts in three different states may have jurisdiction in military divorce cases. Military couples can typically file for divorce in the state of their legal residence. If one spouse lives in a different state, people may also file there. Additionally, couples can file for divorce where the service member is stationed. It is important to consider the filing location because different states have different divorce laws. Some states, for example, are community property states, while other states consider many factors for dividing property. Additionally, spousal support may be different from state to state.

Older divorced people have certain unique issues to address

In Washington and across the nation, divorce is a frequent occurrence. Current statistics indicate that the number of older people getting a divorce is on the rise. This is frequently referred to as the "gray divorce" phenomenon. This statistical increase is happening while the overall divorce rate is at its lowest point in four decades.

When older people get divorced, there are certain issues that come to the forefront. For example, spousal support is a common consideration. Since people in this age range are generally established professionally, the property division process may be complicated too. This can cause concerns such as how to handle stocks, retirement funds, pensions and more. Washington is a community property state meaning that everything the couple accrued during the marriage, including assets and debt, will be split evenly. This can invite dispute.

Do you remain eligible for survivor benefits after your divorce?

Your marriage to a service member in Federal Way likely places you in the position of needing to make certain sacrifices in order to accommodate their service. Among those sacrifices may be your career pursuits in order to dedicate yourself to running your family while your spouse fulfills their military obligations. Consequently, you become dependent on the benefits made available through your spouse's service. Among those benefits may be the assurance that if your spouse dies during the course of their service, you will be paid survivor benefits to compensate for the loss of their support. 

Do you remain eligible for those benefits if you and your service member spouse choose to divorce? The answer to that question depends on the unique circumstances of your case. Per the Defense Finance and Accounting Service, the court presiding over your case may mandate that your ex-spouse continue to offer you SBP coverage. Such a mandate may depend on a number of factors, such as your ability to secure gainful employment on your own or whether your responsibilities to your children make it unreasonable to expect you to work full-time outside of the home. If you are declared eligible for survivor benefit plan coverage following your divorce, either you or your ex-spouse must declare this to the DFAS within one year of your divorce becoming final. 

Will collaborative divorce work for a high-asset couple?

Perhaps your marriage has lasted for many years, but growing differences have caused you and your spouse to consider divorce as the only solution for your unhappy union.

However, you may dread going to court for various reasons. If that is the case, why not consider collaborative divorce?

Signs a spouse may be hiding assets

There is a common misconception that only men hide or conceal assets during a divorce. However, as women are gaining more economic power in Washington and throughout the country, there is an opportunity for individuals of both genders to hide assets. It is not uncommon for women who earn more in a relationship to have control over a household's finances. This means that they pay bills, file tax returns and determine how money is invested.

If a spouse makes a larger-than-usual withdrawal from a bank account to pay a bill, it could be a sign that he or she is trying to hide an asset. In such a scenario, a spouse will overpay a creditor and seek a refund after the divorce is finalized. In some cases, even small withdrawals from a bank or retirement account could be cause for alarm.

The top reasons women file for divorce

Washington readers may have heard that around half of all U.S. marriages end in divorce. However, they might not be aware that approximately 80% of all divorces are initiated by women. There are a few reasons why.

According to experts, one of the most common reasons women seek a divorce is that their husbands do not understand or does not care about their feelings, causing them to put up an emotional wall. Another common reason is that a husband fails to show enough love or appreciation to his wife, causing her to feel frustrated and alone. Likewise, a husband's lack of romantic gestures or failure to meet his wife's needs at home are also common reasons women choose to end their marriage.

Signs you may be in an abusive marriage

Not all abuse is obvious like physical abuse. People who are in a marriage in Washington may feel like something is wrong in their relationship but not be able to pinpoint exactly what it is. The signs of an emotional or psychological abusive relationship are often subtle and wear down the victim slowly over time. It is important to be able to identify when one is in an abusive relationship so he or she can get out safely.

According to HuffPost Life, emotional abuse is confusing because it can seem like the perpetrator is acting in a caring way. The goal of this type of abuse is usually to gain control and power of the other person, and it can show up in a number of ways. While the physical effects, like bruises or broken bones, of physical abuse can go away over time, the effects of emotional abuse can have long-term consequences. These include problems with substance abuse, chronic pain, depression, PTSD and anxiety.