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Yakima Family Law Blog

Protect whats yours in a high asset divorce

While it is possible to act on your own behalf when ending a marriage in a Washington court, it is usually less stressful and quite helpful to instead rely on experienced legal representation. Especially in a high asset divorce, any number of challenges may arise that are far more difficult to resolve if you are acting alone. In addition, allowing an experienced attorney to represent you may help protect you from being given the short end of the stick in property division proceedings.

Priority issues in a high-net-worth divorce often include mortgage, taxes, investments, retirement and financial support of children or a spouse. It is understandable that you want to protect your financial future. If you and your spouse are on amicable terms, it may merely be a matter of negotiating a fair settlement and navigating the necessary steps to process your agreement.

Washington is a minority state when it comes to property division

As 2019 gets underway, many Washington spouses will be among others across the country who file for divorce. This state is one of nine that uses community property division rules. It is critical that anyone headed to court first makes certain he or her understands what this actually means.

Most states use equitable division guidelines wherein judges overseeing divorce cases determine what they believe to be a fair distribution of marital assets. Community property rules, however, basically divide all marital property equally. A pre or postnuptial agreement, if applicable, may include changes to this approach. In most situations, property division rulings in Washington are permanent; in rare circumstances, such as evidence of fraud, modification may be sought though it is definitely not the norm.

Court orders Harry Macklowe to sell artwork to generate funds

Washington readers who follow celebrity news headlines may be familiar with a divorce situation that has been ongoing for years now. Harry and Linda Macklowe have been unable to achieve an amicable settlement, and the court has stepped in to help the situation along. Harry Macklowe has contended for years that he has no money to speak of that could provide financial support to his former spouse. The judge overseeing the case appears to believe otherwise and has ordered Macklowe to sell his expansive artwork collection to generate funds.

The collection is valued at more than $700 million. It is comprised of 64 pieces, including a famous Andy Warhol painting of Marilyn Monroe. That work is valued at more than $50 million.

How parenting time influences Washington child support decisions

Going through divorce is never easy, especially as a parent. As a noncustodial parent, numerous challenges may arise regarding visitation or a custody agreement, as well as child support payments. If co-parents disagree, the court will step in to resolve the issues at hand. In Washington and most other states, judges use set guidelines to help them make decisions on a case-by-case basis.

Concerning child support, parenting time is a key factor, as well as income. The more a parent knows about how to build a strong case ahead of time, the better. Most judges  consider percentage of parenting time and each parent's income as main factors that influence financial support decisions.

Former NBA star wins child support case

As many Washington parents have experienced, any number of life changes may occur after a divorce that affect a parent's ability to adhere to the terms of an existing court order. For instance, a parent paying child support might have a change in income that makes his or her current payments no longer feasible. Now-retired NBA star Matt Barnes was recently successful in asking the court to grant him modification of the current financial supplements he provides for his children.  

Barnes had been paying $20,000 per month in financial support of the two sons he shares with his former spouse. However, he told the court that since he has retired from the NBA, he can no longer afford to pay what he considers an exorbitant amount of money. He asked the judge overseeing his case to lower his payments to $7,500 per month.  

Are you prepared to split community property 50/50 in divorce?

A number of important decisions must be made during divorce proceedings. That's especially true if there are child custody issues to resolve. Washington is a community property state, which means the assets (and debts) that you've accumulated with your spouse over the course of your marriage will generally be divided equally. 

Of course, if you have a prenuptial agreement, that usually dictates how your community property will be divided. Regardless, separately owned property -- such as assets you owned prior to the marriage -- are not usually subject to community property division. If you think your spouse is hiding assets or is somehow trying to keep you from getting your allotted share of the community property, it makes sense to reach out for legal support in order to protect your interests.

Will the court grant a modification of your child support order?

Many Washington parents are currently adapting to post-divorce lifestyles with their children. In situations where co-parents agreed to certain plans regarding custody, visitation or child support, the court expects both parties to fully adhere to the terms of the order it handed down. In some situations, a parent may have reason to request modification of an existing plan.

Paying child support can be quite challenging, especially if the paying parent suffers a loss of income, a medical emergency or remarries and begins to financially provide for step-children. The court understands life changes and that an existing payment schedule may no longer be feasible in certain situations. The court does not look favorably upon parents who try to take matters into their own hands by simply ceasing to make ordered child support payments on time.

Are rich people really more prone toward divorce?

A recent marriage study suggests that high-net-worth assets may have an impact on whether Washington married couples stay together or call it quits. In fact, this particular study suggests that wealthy people in general are much likelier to divorce than their less-affluent peers. While one study definitely does not prove or discount such assertions, it is true that finances often have significant influence on marital relationships.

Spouses who divorce often say that money was a causal factor in the breakdowns of their relationships. In households where one spouse earns a high income and one spouse is not employed or earns substantially less, there often seems to be relationship stress that many believe is caused by the economic disparity between the married couple. Another commonly occurring argument between spouses of substantial means has to do with living expenses and debt.

Child support, from the court's perspective

If you recently got divorced and also happen to be a parent, issues regarding your children were likely discussed, and court decisions were made (or approvals granted) in conjunction with your co-parenting plan. You may also have an existing court order regarding child support in Washington. Perhaps you are the paying parent or you receive payments from your ex to provide for your children's needs.

The court takes various factors into consideration when making child support decisions. First and foremost is typically income, in particular, how much each parent currently earns. From there, the court will no doubt consider the custodial parent's financial ability to provide for the children.

Keep Washington business assets safe in divorce

No one likes to think about divorce when he or she is planning to marry. However, in some circumstances, such as when the person also happens to be a Washington business owner, it is a wise business decision to think ahead and to not ignore the possibility that any marriage could ultimately end in divorce. Doing so enables a business owner to take steps to protect business assets should a marriage someday end in court.  

Washington happens to be one of only nine states in the nation that continue to operate under community property laws in divorce. This means that all marital assets are typically split 50/50 between spouses. Unless a business owner executed a prenuptial plan before marrying, marital property would include the value of the business at the time of the divorce.  

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