Even though the month of March is behind us, people who were the victim of March Madness divorces should still be taking steps to protect themselves and their finances until the divorce is finalized.
Property division, tax consequences and spousal support are often contentious issues in any divorce. However, these issues become even more complicated when divorcing couples have highly valuable assets. Due to the unique and high-stakes nature of divorcing with complex assets, high-net-worth individuals should carefully consider and evaluate these factors.
Dealing with a long term marriage (25 years or more) in a divorce can be a tricky subject. After years of comingling of funds and perhaps a major disparity in education and employment, what is "fair" in Washington may be wholly different than the end result in a different state. Over the last decade, Washington Courts have focused Family Law matters and divorces on equality. Not necessarily giving 50-50 shares equally to both spouses. Rather, the Courts will do its best to put both spouses on equal footing. The pivotal case in this regard was In re Marriage of Rockwell, 141 Wn. App. 235 (2007). The end result was providing an unequal 60/40 split of the assets including retirement toward the wife.
This is Divorces of the Rich and Famous! No, I'm not Robin Leach, but many potential divorcees try to abuse the system when it comes to their child support. Generally speaking, children of divorce are entitled to continue the lifestyle they enjoyed while their parents were married. In Family Law cases across the country it is not uncommon for hedge fund managers and celebrities to seek hundreds of thousands to even millions of dollars in child support.
From time to time, I will get a call from someone asking about the costs of an uncontested divorce. This is a very simple question with a very elaborate and lawyerly answer. First and foremost, it depends. Prices may vary depending on whether there are children, a boatload of debt, or even a boatload of boats. The most common cost increase for uncontested divorces is that - in the end - the divorce is actually contested and the parties don't realize it yet. The notion of an uncontested divorce in Family Law is a misnomer as it is a true rarity in the field.
Washington is one of nine states (mostly on the west coast) that follow community property laws when it comes to Estate Planning. This is important to note because it will wholly affect the way you and your loving spouse choose to draft your wills and other estate planning documents. But, what if your loving spouse no longer loves you? These community property laws are also incredibly helpful to understand for purposes of Family Law. For example, if you purchase a home during your marriage, community property helps the judge determine who owns the equity after a divorce.
Whether you've joined the masses under the Space Needle or gathered with friends and family in your local cul-de-sac, the 4th of July is always full of loud, bright, and potentially dangerous fireworks. If you happen to be in any of Washington's spectacular Superior Courthouses, the date is irrelevant. When it comes to Family Law issues, fireworks are everywhere and can last for several years.
We recently received a phone call from a potential client who originated in the Spokane area who had an inquiry regarding Family Law. The father had a child from a previous marriage and had paid a substantial amount of child support to his ex-wife. It had been some time since the child support order had been entered, and the potential client was exploring whether to modify the current order. Since the divorce, both ex-spouses had remarried and their respective ex-'tra' spouses had full time employment.
Little Jimmy has almost lived at his grandparent's house. Grandma teaches him how to cook and Grandpa takes him on adventures around their property. What happens if Grandma and Grandpa get in a fight with Jimmy's parents? Suddenly, Little Jimmy's parents don't want Little Jimmy seeing the grandparents any more. Unfortunately, in the area of Family Law, grandparents have almost no rights when it comes to seeing their grandchild. And, while this may not be fair, considering some of the lengths grandparents go to provide for their grandchildren, it remains the law.
As a marriage evolves, spouses tend to reflect on their lives. Sometimes, a husband and wife decide that changes needs to be made. In Family Law, this typically involves the decision to leave your significant other. And most times, it doesn't mean that someone is marching down to the nearest Superior Court and filing for divorce. Setting aside the emotional aspects, we usually field calls with questions of the legality of separating from their spouse because there is an important distinctino between a legal separation and emotional separation.