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Yakima Family Law Blog

Raising a child following divorce requires parental cooperation

Many Washington parents have gone through or are preparing to go through divorce proceedings. Most parents consider their children's best interests their highest priority, particularly as the parents navigate the family court system. The problem is that raising a child is an intensely personal journey, and parents who have gone their separate ways may disagree as to what is best for their kids.

Studies show children fare best when their parents are willing to cooperate to keep stress levels as low as possible when they divorce. There are several ways parents can help their children adapt to new lifestyles once the parents are no longer married. One thing they can do is refrain from arguing over custody or child support (or any family matter) in front of their children.

High-profile couple, Lauer and Roque, spotted at family home

Matt Lauer and his estranged wife, Annette Roque, were recently spotted sharing the holidays together with their kids. Headlines continue to spread regarding Lauer's abrupt termination from the "Today" show due to sexual harassment complaints against him. There are also rumors afloat that Roque plans to divorce Lauer. She previously began proceedings in 2006, but subsequently withdrew the complaint. Washington readers may relate to the developing story about this high\-profile couple.

Lauer and Roque own a sprawling horse farm on 40 acres that was purchased from actor Richard Gere during their marriage. It was there that they were reportedly seen recently with their children. It's not uncommon for estranged spouses to agree to spend holidays together so their kids can spend time with both parents simultaneously rather than shuttle back and forth between homes, which can be very stressful.

Child support orders must be followed as is, unless modified

When parents in Washington divorce, they typically face numerous challenges related to their future parenting plans. Even in situations where the parties are able to amicably communicate and are willing to cooperate as needed to achieve a fair and agreeable settlement, various types of obstacles or problems may arise that cause delays or disputes. Hot button issues often involve child support or custody and visitation situations.

Where child support is concerned, state laws vary; however, each state typically provides guidelines for the court's consideration when decisions regarding who should pay, how much and how often need to be made. Once the court has issued a particular order regarding financial provisions for children following divorce, both parents must adhere to the ruling. If one or the other parent disagrees with the court's decision, it may be possible to file an appeal.

Those 50 and older worried about retirement plans and divorce

There has been a 50 percent increase in divorce among those age 50 and older in the past 20 years. Surprisingly, the national overall divorce rate is on a decline according to most studies; however, this particular age group continues to see an increase. Many older people currently considering divorce in Washington are worried how the process might impact their retirement plans.

It is a valid concern, to be sure, as many people who divorce at age 50 or older wind up borrowing money from their retirement savings to cover expenses related to their divorces. Grey divorce (as it is often called among this age group) does not necessarily have to break the bank. A key to keeping costs low often lies in the type of support one obtains before heading to court.

High asset divorce may be affected by possible new tax laws

Many Washington residents will navigate the divorce process before year's end. In cases of high asset divorce, various financial matters may be key factors in achieving fair and agreeable settlements. There are rumors of possible changes in federal tax laws that have many spouses concerned, especially those who pay or think they will be ordered to pay alimony.

As it stands, those who pay alimony are usually able to claim deductions on their income tax returns. For instance, a man in another state who was ordered to pay $60,000 per year to his former wife was able to deduct the amount on his tax forms. In actuality, he only paid $40,000 out of pocket.

Former Cosby show star says daughter's father owes child support

When Keshia Knight-Pulliam, former sitcom star who played Rudy on the Cosby Show, got divorced, she likely did not expect she'd wind up in a contentious, drawn-out court battle over her daughter. However, as is often the case when parents disagree about child support or custody and visitation issues, Knight-Pulliam and her child's father, former professional football star Ed Hartwell, are back in court, each trying to convince the court that the other has done wrong. Many parents in Washington have gone through similar situations.

Hartwell reportedly filed a complaint recently, stating that Knight-Pulliam canceled a scheduled visit he had with his daughter. He said there was no valid reason for the cancellation. Hartwell requested that the court hold Knight-Pulliam in contempt for violating an existing court order.

Will a high asset wedding lead to high asset divorce?

If every Washington resident who is married answered a survey regarding why he or she chose a particular spouse, answers would greatly vary. On the flip side of that coin, if questions pertained to why people get divorced, likely no two responses would be exactly the same. However, studies show there are certain risk factors that may signal a strong propensity toward divorce. One of those has to do with how much money was spent on a wedding; apparently, a high asset weddings often leads to high asset divorce.

Many married couples struggle to make ends meet. If a spouse reluctantly forked over major money for a wedding celebration, it may ignite negative vibes from the get go, even if they are not immediately apparent. In fact, studies show those who spend in excess of $20,000 on their weddings triple their risks for divorce. Frugally speaking, those who simplify wedding celebrations by spending no more than $1,000 are less likely to end their marriages in court.

Protecting Washington business assets in divorce

It is highly unlikely that you entered marriage thinking that you'd someday wind up in divorce court. That doesn't mean, however, that you weren't thinking logically about the possibility of such, given national statistics on the topic. Perhaps you addressed the matter by signing a prenuptial agreement to protect your Washington business assets, just in case.

Now that more than a decade has gone by, and you've come to terms with the fact that your marriage is indeed headed for divorce, you may have many questions regarding property division issues that extend beyond your immediate concerns about the business you own. If you are one of many residents throughout the state who entered marriage with no signed pre-nup, your current situation may have you feeling a bit uneasy. Washington is one of only nine community property states in existence, meaning all your marital property will be divided 50/50 in divorce.

When divorce unexpectedly becomes part of a retirement plan

Many Washington residents understand what it is like to work long, hard hours for many years to provide for a family and hopefully set aside enough money to cover any expenses that arise in their Golden Years. Planning for retirement often includes selling a home and moving to a restricted community where are residents are over age 55 or so. A marriage analyst has questioned whether this type of living might actually be a causal factor in the increased numbers of late-in-life divorce seen throughout the nation.

Does living location impact marital relationships? Some say when the location is a retirement community, it may actually increase the chances of divorce beyond age 50. Late-in-life divorce is definitely a noticeable rising trend throughout the nation. Whether living in residential communal retirement areas prompts people to sever their marital ties is debatable; however, those who believe it does say it is because of the social nature of human beings, and a tendency to mimic the behaviors of those around them exists. Therefore, if retired couples see many of their friends getting divorced, they may be more likely to do the same.

Divorce dispute centers on pampered pet bulldog

When a Washington couple decides to call it quits, there are a number of topics that might be a source of disagreement. Those debates often continue even after the divorce is made final, and many couples end up returning to court to settle arguments over how the terms of the settlement are being met. An example is found in the case of a pet owner who claims that her former husband has neglected to make good on his promise to help support their beloved English bulldog, named Lola.

In the couple's divorce agreement, the wife was to assume physical control over the dog, while the husband agreed to pay for the cost of her care. Specifically, he agreed to pay a monthly amount of $200 per month, and to cover all of Lola's feeding expenses and half of any veterinary care. According to his former wife, however, those obligations have gone unmet.

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