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Federal Way Divorce Law Blog

How will your living arrangements affect child custody?

Often, families are able to afford certain living accommodations and a certain lifestyle because both parents contribute an income that helps fund that lifestyle. As a result, many people see a drastic change in the way they are able to live after getting a divorce. You and your spouse may have been able to afford a relatively upscale home on your combined income, but now, you will have to downsize.

While the idea of living in a smaller home may not necessarily seem like something immensely difficult, it could have more of an effect on other aspects of your divorce than you may have imagined. For example, the court will closely look at your living arrangements when making child custody decisions.

Is career success a causal factor in your divorce?

As 2020 gets underway in Washington and across the country, many married couples have already decided they no longer wish to maintain their spousal relationships. There are any number of reasons why such couples decide to divorce. For some, there appears to be a rising trend having to do with career success, especially if the successful spouse happens to be a woman.

There are several studies that have addressed the issue, and researchers say they have found that, when a female spouse has a highly successful career, her marriage is nearly twice as likely to end in divorce. It is suspected that many women who are single and dating often hide their career success because they worry that their dates will feel intimidated by it. The studies seem to confirm such suspicions because researchers say many male spouses simply do not seem to be able to handle their wives' success.

High-asset divorce does not have to be contentious

You and many other Washington residents may have times in your life where you feel like you need to make significant changes. You could feel unsatisfied in your job, want to move to a better location and take other steps to help you feel happier and more fulfilled in life. Recently, you may have come to the decision that ending your marriage would be a step in finding more happiness.

Of course, you likely have many concerns about divorce and could wonder whether the upheaval of various aspects of your life may be worth it. In particular, you have become used to the lifestyle you lead and the level of income you and your spouse generate. In fact, you will likely go through a high-asset divorce.

If child custody is denied, what about visitation?

When Washington parents decide to divorce, the court ultimately either approves a parent-devised custody plan or steps in to make decisions regarding child custody and other issues if parents cannot resolve such issues themselves. While every case is unique, the court always has children's best interests in mind. In some situations, this might include ruling that the children in question would be best off living full time with one only one of their two parents. That does not mean the other parent cannot request visitation, however.

One of the numerous reasons the court might deny custody to one parent is if it determines that the children involved would not hold up well to the stress of switching back and forth between households. This is no way implies that the non-custodial parent is unfit or that his or her household is unsuitable. It merely means that the judge overseeing the case has determined that the specific children in question would adapt better to their post-divorce lifestyle if they consistently lived with the same parent all the time.

Divorce more common as the new year dawns

Some people in Washington may be prompted to file for divorce along with the turn of the year. There are a number of reasons why an increasing number of divorces are initiated at the beginning of a new year. In the first place, parents may be concerned about the effects on their children. For many families, the winter holidays are an important time. Parents are often very concerned about how the divorce will affect their children, even when both spouses are well aware that their marriage has come to an end. As a result, they may want to protect their children's holiday experience by forestalling the divorce.

Parents may be aware that their children will have many holiday seasons to come with shared custody and switching back and forth between their parents' home. They may want the last winter season together to be full of positive memories as a family, rather than the traumatic moment for kids when they learn their parents are separating. In addition, they may want to get through the many family events that often accompany the winter holidays without going through extensive questions about the reasons and plans for the divorce.

Have your plans for the new year changed because of divorce?

Perhaps you didn't expect your Washington spouse to tell you that he or she was having an affair. You no doubt were also caught off-guard if the next statement your spouse made was that he or she was filing for divorce. In an instant, your whole life changed, and now, you have to figure out how to cope with these changes.

A top priority will likely be finances, especially if you have children. Washington is a community property state, which means property division proceedings are typically conducted by splitting all marital assets and liabilities 50/50 between spouses. If you're concerned that your spouse might try to beat the system by hiding assets, you'll want to be on your toes to look for evidence and know what legal steps to protect yourself.

Taking steps to improve your divorce outcome

If you are heading toward divorce, you can probably look back over your marriage and recognize many mistakes. Whether you take responsibility for the end of your marriage or you lay the blame squarely on your spouse's shoulders, you can probably admit there are things you would do differently if you had the chance, perhaps beginning with the first day you met your spouse.

The regret of those mistakes may be difficult to bear, especially if they led to others being hurt, such as your children or your other family members. You certainly would not want to make mistakes you will regret in your divorce. Unfortunately, because emotions are typically high at the end of a marriage, it is common for separating couples to make mistakes that can negatively affect the outcome of their divorce.

Tips for discussing a prenuptial agreement

When a couple in Washington decides to get married, they may want a prenuptial agreement. Even if a couple is simply planning on living together, a cohabitation agreement can help facilitate conversation and set expectations. It is important that both individuals have input into the agreement and are happy with it.

Before signing such an agreement, each person should have an attorney review it. One woman was given a cohabitation agreement by her boyfriend that included several provisions related to the possibility of marriage she was unwilling to agree to. One was that no matter how much money she put toward the home her boyfriend had purchased with his mother's help, she would not receive any financial compensation if they got a divorce. Another was that she would not receive alimony if they got a divorce.

Divorce definitely has financial implications. Keep this in mind

Before 2019 ends and into the first weeks of the new year, many Washington spouses will file petitions in a family court to dissolve their marriages. Why each spouse has decided to divorce is likely to vary. However, many spouse can relate to others' experiences. In fact, they often share similar concerns as well, such as what their financial situation will be when they re-enter a single lifestyle.

There are several ways to finalize a divorce, some more expensive than others. It pays to research options ahead of time in order to choose a path that is most economically feasible given one's set of circumstances. While hiring an attorney incurs fees, doing so can also help a concerned spouse protect his or her financial interests in divorce.

Why and how to create a prenuptial agreement

Washington couples who are planning to get married may also want to consider a prenuptial agreement. A prenup lays out a plan for how property will be divided in case of a divorce. Even couples who are not getting a prenup may want to visit a financial planner or a legal professional to find out how marriage will affect their ownership of property and how it will be divided if the marriage does not last.

A prenup can be particularly important if one or both individuals own a business. First, the prenup can establish the worth of the business at the time of the marriage and how its value will be established if the individuals divorce. If the two individuals own the business together, it can specify which spouse will buy out the other and how. If only one owns the business, it can state the percentage the other spouse can expect from the business. It can also specify how profits and losses will be shared.