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Robert N. Getz

Everett Legal Issues Blog

The tax impacts of divorce are set to change in 2019

Several tax impacts of divorce will be changing with the new year. In Washington, getting a divorce takes at least 91 days, so if you are just starting this process, it is important to understand these changes and how they might affect you.

Spousal maintenance

Washington probate: Need help with your will?

Estate planning can be an overwhelming thing. There is a lot to consider. A good place to start the estate planning process is by drafting a will. If you need help creating a will, a Washington probate attorney may be able to help.

How hard is it to create a will? It really is a matter of just writing down your wants and wishes. You can be highly detailed, which can help avoid any will contests down the line, or it can be very basic. You choose what you think would be best for you and your family.

The dos and do not's of divorce

For most couples who are getting ready to end their marriages, the process of doing so is not an easy one. It takes time building a relationship, and it takes time to split it apart -- especially if there are children involved. This week, this column will address some do's and do not's of divorce that every couple in Washington preparing to navigate the divorce process should know.

First, the do's. This list is going to be a bit longer than the do not's. Here it goes:

  • Do be reasonable: Set realistic expectations and be willing to negotiate. This will go a long way toward achieving a fair divorce settlement.
  • Do take care of the children: Divorce does not end one's responsibility towards one's children. Financial and emotional support throughout the process will help them through this difficult time.
  • Do investigate marital assets: It is impossible to get one's fair share of the community property if one does not know what assets there are to split.
  • Do learn about divorce options: There is more than one way to get through the divorce process.
  • Do seek help: The divorce process is not something anyone has to go through alone.

The high cost of divorce

Washington residents who are ready to end their marriages may not be ready for the financial fallout that may follow. Not only can the divorce process cost quite a bit, but each party may walk away with less than they thought they would. There are some things people can do to transition into post-divorce life financially prepared.

Do number one: make a plan. Those who have a financial plan in place are better prepared to handle post-divorce finances. While there may be some unknowns until the dissolution settlement is finalized, one can plan to live one his or her expected single income. Anything he or she receives on top of that will be great padding.

About probate in the state of Washington

Losing a loved one is never easy. Divvying up his or her estate can be a pain, particularly if he or she failed to create an estate plan. In the state of Washington, probate may be necessary before assets can be passed on to beneficiaries, but it is not always required. Every case is different.

What is probate? It is a discretionary proceeding at which all estate documents are examined, creditors and taxes are paid and then assets are distributed to beneficiaries. If a formal probate proceeding is called for, a personal representative will be put in charge of handling everything. The person assigned to this role may have been named by the deceased or a judge may appoint the person he or she deems fit to tackle the role.

Giving children a say in child custody matters

If your children are young and you are going through the divorce process, you and your spouse or the courts are expected to come up with a custody plan that is best for them. If your children are a little older and in a place where they can really express their wishes regarding with whom they wish to live, they may have a say in the process. If you want to allow your child to have a say in child custody matters, you may need help to get a Washington family court judge on board if your soon-to-be ex does not agree.

Not all states are open to considering a child's wishes when it comes to child custody. Luckily, here it is possible. The courts in Washington understand that children are people with feelings and thoughts that should not be ignored. The problem is determining when those thoughts and feelings should be considered.

5 FAQs about the divorce mediation process

If you and your ex-spouse both want to handle your divorce peacefully, but aren’t sure how to work past strong emotions, divorce mediation may be a solution. This practice involves multiple sessions in which a trained specialist guides you and your ex-spouse through the tough divorce issues you’re struggling to resolve.

Still have questions? You’re not alone. Here are five frequently asked questions by those who are interested in the possibility of using divorce mediation.

Washington probate: Why challenge a loved one's will

Losing a loved one is never an easy thing to go through, even if it is really for the best due to age or illness. When it happens, there will likely be the desire to get through the probate process as swiftly as possible. However, depending on how his or her will was written, it may be wise to slow things down and challenge the contents, which can be done in a Washington probate court.

Why challenge a will? There are a number of reasons to do it. Maybe one's loved one made last minute changes due to the influence of certain individuals. Maybe one is concerned about his or her loved one's mental capacity at the time the will was written. Maybe there are concerns about the will's overall validity due to a lack of witnesses at the signing.

Watch what you post to social media during your divorce

A good number of Washington residents have social media accounts to which they post photos, videos and their personal thoughts. There is nothing wrong with this as long as one realizes this information shared with the public might be used against them in court. Those going through the divorce process would be wise to reconsider their social media habits.

Dissolving a marriage is often a stressful and frustrating time in one's life. It can be tempting to turn to social media to air one's grievances on the matter. It can be tempting to bash one's ex or overshare private details. Before doing any of the above, think about children -- if applicable -- and if they will see the information being put out there. Think about how this information could be used to hurt one's final divorce settlement -- because it can -- and think about what friends and family really need to know about your private family affairs.

Washington child custody: Creating parenting plans that work

When a couple decides to split up and each party goes their separate ways, there are a lot of things, both big and small, to figure out. If the couple has children, they will need to work out child custody. There are two ways to set up a parenting plan in Washington -- through negotiating the matter or by going to court.

Thankfully, parents in Washington have a number of options when it comes to parenting plans. There are sole and joint custody options, as well as visitation options, just like anywhere else. Joint custody and visitation can be a flexible as the family needs it to be.

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