How is Property and Debt Split During a Divorce?

In Washington the courts are instructed to make a "just and equitable" division of all property and debt, both community and separate. Some factors the court is to consider include the nature and extent of the property, the duration of the marriage, and the economic circumstances of each spouse....

Six Tips for Settling Your Divorce

Note that I did not say "winning" your divorce. As a general rule, no one wins a divorce case; instead the court tries to be as fair to both as possible and both sides get something. While there are those people who look forward to taking the other spouse to court, most people just want to get the c...

A Problem to Solve, Not a War to Win

Too often divorce is seen as a war (remember "War of the Roses"?). When we see it as a war, then "winning" becomes the primary objective. But how often does one really win in a divorce? Certainly a hard fought divorce comes with many costs -- money, time, energy, etc. Both parties emerge emotionally...

Dividing Debt in Divorce

In some ways dividing debt in a divorce is just like dividing property, but in other ways it is more complicated. Generally, community property and debt are combined to reach a net community estate value, and then that total value is divided between the parties....

Empathy in Divorce

An initial reaction is likely to be, "Why should I have any empathy for my divorcing spouse?" In fact, empathy is a skill that can help you better settle your divorce issues. Empathy is the ability to see things from the other person's point of view. When you can do that, you reach a better underst...

Is Separate Property Off the Table?

In dividing property in a divorce, the Washington courts distinguish between separate property and community property. Community property refers to assets acquired by the couple during the marriage. Separate property refers to assets acquired by one of the parties outside of the marriage (prior to m...

Can My Spouse and I Use the Same Lawyer in a Divorce?

We frequently hear from people who are working out their own divorce settlements amicably, and they want to hire a single lawyer to assist them in completing the divorce. They even are considering the same lawyer to advise them as to what their final settlement should look like....

Financial Planning in Your Divorce

Many people getting divorced fail to do any real financial planning as they go through the process. They basically are saying, "I'll see what I end up with and make do". However, sitting down with a financial adviser to start planning for your post-divorce life can be helpful in several ways....

Can I Do My Divorce Without a Lawyer?

Yes, you can do all of your divorce without a lawyer, though the paperwork and rules can be intimidating, and it is easy to make costly mistakes. The state has published standard forms for doing it yourself (and lawyers are required to use the same forms). However, if you do find that you need help,...

Does My Ex Get Custody of Our Child if I Die?

I was recently asked whether a parent could provide in her will for who would take care of her child if that parent died. She was concerned that the child's father was not up to adequately caring for the child. I had to let her know despite any provisions in a will, the other parent would normally b...
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