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Yakima Family Law Blog

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.  

Raising a child in a healthy parental relationship after divorce

The relationship between parents and their children may be seriously affected by divorce. Raising a child in Washington who is healthy and well-adjusted is likely one of the most difficult and most important things a person can do. Humans are far from perfect and most adults are able to move on after marriages end. It may take kids a little longer, especially if one or both of their parents have found new partners.

Being in a blended family takes a lot of getting used to and many kids don't take kindly to drastic changes. But when parents on the same page are working a positive co-parenting plan, children may ultimately be able to accept perhaps sharing a space and sharing their parents' time with other children now in the mix. Kids in this situation greatly benefit spending one-on-one time with their parents who need to remind their kids that they will always come first.

Postnuptial contracts: Read before signing to avoid dispute

In business, divorce or any other transaction that includes signing a contract, Washington readers will want to remember the importance of carefully reading all terms therein and making sure they understand them before signing. A dispute may arise down the line if one or more parties of a contract suddenly claim they did not understand what they were signing. A man who was once married Elvis Presley's daughter says he was unaware of the contents of the post-nuptial agreements he signed.

Lisa Marie Presley has been married four times. While she paid spousal support to her first husband, she did not pay any to her second or third. It is her fourth husband who complained that he was unaware that signing a post nuptial contract would prevent him from ever receiving spousal support from Presley.

What to do when child support problems arise in divorce

While it is sometimes possible to create an amicable co-parenting plan in a Washington divorce, it can be quite challenging if parents disagree about certain issues. Problems often arise regarding child custody or child support matters. However, if a concerned parent knows how to quickly access legal support, most problems can be resolved before they get out of hand.  

The court always has the best interests of the children involved in mind. Like most good parents in Washington, you also want what is best for your kids, even if it means you must make sacrifices along the way. Things can get messy during divorce proceedings if your interpretation of what is best for your children differs from your spouse's.  

When Washington property division problems involve hidden assets

Many Washington spouses encounter challenges when navigating the family justice system, especially regarding divorce. It's never an easy process, and when one spouse is out to get revenge on the other or is trying to gain the upper-hand in property division proceedings, things can messy. If anyone reading this post is worried about possible hidden assets in divorce, there are several issues to pay close attention to when trying to confirm a suspicion or gather evidence to catch a spouse in the act.  

Spouses trying to beat the system concerning marital assets in divorce may make one or more expensive purchases, which they will then attempt to undervalue. For instance, if a spouse suddenly adds numerous pieces to an art collection or buys another high-end item, such as a piece of jewelry or an expensive oriental rug, it may be a sign that he or she is attempting to hide assets. Another common means for hiding assets is to overpay on federal tax returns.  

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