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Seattle Family Law Blog

Allocating credit card debt is part of the process of ending a marriage

A divorce can become contentious over the issue of how to properly allocate debts acquired by the spouses during their marriage.

Credit Card Insider observes that divorce is sometimes messy not just because of the emotional aspect but because of the fact that a divorce has the potential to "wreak havoc on both parties' finances." Nevertheless, "divvying up the financial liabilities" of an ending marriage is part and parcel of the property division process. Debt division can be as contentious-if not more so-than a division of a Washington couple's community property assets. This should not be surprising since divorcing couples ready for a fresh start are not especially eager to shoulder any more of the marital debt than they need to.

4 signs that your spouse may be hiding assets in a divorce

People going through a divorce should know how to look for the signs that a spouse is attempting to hide assets.

Washington is a community property state, which essentially declares any property that a couple acquires during the marriage will be subject to division. As the Washington Courts note, community property law can be complicated and require professional assistance to navigate.

5 factors to consider when telling children about a divorce

The way parents talk to their children about a divorce in Washington is key to ensuring the kids cope with the news well.

Going through a divorce can be an overwhelming and complicated process. According to the Washington State Department of Health, there were 24,847 divorces or annulments in the state year 2014. In many of those cases, parents had to break the news of the end of the marriage to their children.

Three considerations for hiring a Washington divorce lawyer

Due to the sensitive nature of divorce and the impact the outcomes may have on people's futures, it is important they use care when hiring their attorneys.

In 2014, the divorce rate was 3.6 for every 1,000 residents in Washington, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. After making the difficult decision to split, many people obtain legal counsel to assist them. The legal representatives whom they choose may affect the outcomes of their cases, and thus, their futures. Therefore, those who are getting divorced should consider several factors when making their choice to make sure they hire the lawyer best suited for their families and needs.

Can I keep a mortgage and a house after divorce?

Choosing what to do with a house in a divorce is only part of the equation. Couples also need to determine how to handle a joint mortgage.

When getting divorced, it is not uncommon for Washington spouses to feel a strong emotional tug to keep their marital homes. This may be especially the case for parents who want to maintain some consistency for their children. If this is something desired, however, people should still evaluate their options from a financial perspective in order to avoid being tied to their former spouses through a mortgage.

The Infamous "Double-Dip"

When a family owned business is valued in a dissolution action, the argument often is made that paying spousal maintenance based on the income that was valued as part of an asset is a "double dip". Such allegations often fail to understand that business experts only value businesses based on excess earnings and consequently deduct a reasonable salary from the gross revenue earned in order to avoid the double dip argument. Spousal maintenance is then based only on the replacement salary, not the total gross business revenue. The result will be the valuation of a business based on excess earnings over and above a reasonable replacement salary. The payment of maintenance, if appropriate, and based on statutory factors, is only composed of the replacement salary. In re The Marriage of Victor K. Cheng v. Julia A. Cheng, Division II, Court of Appeals, No 47397-1-II (November, 2016). 

Property Division in Washington

Property is divided in a just and equitable manner in the state of Washington. There are many factors that come into play. Parties often equate a just and equitable division with an equal division. This is wrong. Courts have a great deal of latitude in interpreting what a "just and equitable" division of property is. Important factors are, but are not limited to: 

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