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Yakima Family Law Blog

Bird nesting may be in best interests of the child on Today Show

Fans of Hollywood film actor Josh Lucas may have watched his guest spot earlier this year on the Today Show. Lucas spoke about bird nesting, an alternative living arrangement many people (no doubt including some in Washington) are incorporating into their divorce plans. Lucas said he and his former wife chose bird nesting for their 5-year old son. He also said his son loves the new plan, and he (Lucas) believes parents can keep the best interests of the child in mind as they move forward in life following divorce. 

Parents are wise to fully research any proposed plan before signing an agreement. Bird nesting involves children remaining in the family home that was shared during marriage. Parents take turns living with their kids while securing separate living quarters for the times when it is not their turn to reside in the family home. A potential downside to bird nesting is that additional residences may add to post-divorce expenses.  

Washington is a minority state regarding property division

If you're preparing to file for divorce in Washington anytime soon, there are several things you know regarding state laws that govern such issues. This state is one of only nine in the nation that continue to regulate property division proceedings in divorce through community property rules. This means that all marital property is divided 50/50 when you divorce. 

It's critical that you seek clarification of community property laws since this will impact your financial future once your divorce is finalized. Washington is also unique concerning divorce regulations because it doesn't allow modification of an existing property division court order. Although there may be rare circumstances where the court would allow you to change the terms of your agreement, you should be prepared for permanency regarding this aspect of your divorce.  

Dividing property and assets can be confusing amid divorce

The end of a marriage can bring about a myriad of difficult emotions. In Washington State and all across the country, ending a marriage can also be a costly experience. The process of divorce can wreak havoc on personal finances. However, there are certain things like dividing property and assets that can be done early on that can save money and complications later.

Two of the most common assets of former spouses are property and pensions. Dividing these can sometimes be complicated. With pensions, these are usually divided two ways: pension sharing and pension offsetting. In pension sharing, one party can receive a percentage share of their former spouse's pension. In pension offsetting, the party originally receiving a pension keeps it, but the value of the pension is offset against another asset, usually the home.

Dividing marital property calls for knowledge and strategy

During a marriage, an individual and his or her spouse have likely accumulated assets. When it comes time to divorce and separate those assets, a bit of knowledge and strategy can ensure that the best arrangement is made, one that will support the individual's best interests. By staying informed about the value of the marital property and with the right timing, a person in Washington can undergo the divorce process with the goal of correct valuation of community property. 

Divorce lawyers often share their own tips and tricks for achieving the best results. One commonly suggested tactic is simply awareness. A person who co-owns real estate or shares financial accounts with a soon-to-be ex-spouse should understand the financial impact. Knowing the mortgage payment, the available equity, the value of any stocks and the amount of funds in bank accounts will help a person get the big picture information about shared finances. 

NBA star Blake Griffin's former lover files for child support

Most Washington parents currently facing legal problems regarding financial provision or care of their children do not have to worry about the personal details of their situations making national news headlines. However, private situations can be just as stressful as those that unfold before the public eye, such as an ongoing battle between professional basketball player Blake Griffin and his former girlfriend. She has filed a palimony lawsuit against Griffin and is requesting child support for their two children.

Griffin's personal life has been talked about in the media on more than one occasion, especially since he reportedly struck up a romantic relationship with Kendall Jenner, a member of the famous Kardashian clan. In fact, Griffin's former girlfriend mentions Jenner in her palimony lawsuit, saying Griffin brought shame to her family when he abandoned them then pursued a relationship with Jenner. The mother of two said she is requesting child support because Griffin continues to earn millions of dollars while her children's basic needs remain unmet.

Business assets top priority in many Washington divorces

When a person or couple works long and hard to develop, launch and sustain a successful business, it's understandable that asset protection would be of paramount importance if divorce occurs. Whether spouses also happen to be business partners or one spouse runs the business while the other remains uninvolved, when they file for divorce, both spouses will likely be concerned with business assets when it comes time to divide marital property. Washington is one of nine states in the nation that use community property laws to process divorce.

This means all marital property is typically split 50/50 when spouses divorce. When a business is involved, it becomes necessary to seek a business valuation before the court can determine half its value. The three main components of a thorough business valuation include existing assets, income (current and projected) and market values at the time of the assessment.

High asset divorce often equals high stress: Several ways to help

Most Washington married couples expect to be together for the rest of their lives. There's no foolproof way to predict which marriages will last and which will not; however, current data suggests that the likelihood of the latter is quite high in many areas. High asset divorce is seldom a process without challenges.

It's understandable that someone who has worked for years to amass savings or build a successful business would want to protect those interests in a divorce. Many people think ahead and sign prenuptial agreements to address property division concerns should a divorce occur later. These agreements can also specify what is to occur if one party predeceases the other. There are other resources available as well for keeping stress levels low in a high net worth value divorce.

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.

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