Law Office of Robert N. Getz, P.S.
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Robert N. Getz

Everett Legal Issues Blog

Remember why divorce is an option

In 1979, the rate of divorce was just 5 per every 1,000 Americans. Now, just 40 years later, nearly half of all marriages end in divorce.

This jump is not the result of more poorly matched pairs, but a change in the way society considers divorce. Today, divorce is more like a parachute, than a last resort.

From filing to finalization: How long does divorce take?

The decision to dissolve your marriage is one that you probably took some time to reach. Now that you have, you just want to get the divorce over with as soon as possible. How long, from filing to finalization, does the divorce process take in the state of Washington?

How long your divorce takes depends on several factors. Do you have children? Are there questions about how assets should be divided? Do you want to work things out privately, use an alternative dispute resolution method or do you want to go to court? In other words, how long it takes all comes down to the details of your specific case.

Rules to follow when a joint child custody plan is in place

When a couple has children and they choose to divorce, figuring out the best custody plan can be a bit of a challenge. The state of Washington, like most other states, promotes joint child custody when appropriate. Studies show that having access to both parents has long-term benefits for the affected children. Unfortunately, parents sometimes struggle to make this type of custody arrangement work. Here are a few ground rules that they can follow to make joint custody more manageable.

Rule number one: Good communication is necessary. Not all exes are on good speaking terms. When they are sharing time with children, though, they have to find a way to keep each other informed about what is going on with their kids. Those who cannot speak to each other may be better off sending emails or texts. The key is to make sure all communication is just about the children.

Washington probate: Misconceptions about POAs

A power of attorney -- what is it and is it a good thing to have? The truth is, numerous Washington residents can benefit from having POAs, but many people are confused as to what these documents can actually do to help them or where they can get one. A probate law attorney can answer any questions one might have about POAs and help anyone who wants to create one.

There are a lot of misconceptions about POAs out there that make people think they would be better off without one in their legal arsenal. For instance, some people believe that, if they sign this type of legal document, they are giving away their right to make decisions for themselves. That is far from the truth. A POA does not give the assigned personal representative free rein to do what he or she wants with one's assets or to make medical decisions that one would not make for him- or herself. There are limits to the representative's power, and any decisions made have to be in the best interests of the principal.

Washington probate: Reasons to rethink your will

In a previous post, this column addressed creating a will. Washington residents who have already done that some time ago may think that their job is done. The truth is, there may be reasons to rethink and update a will. A probate law attorney can help with that.

Estate planning is rarely a one and done thing for most people -- particularly if the process is started when one is on the younger side. Life changes and a will should reflect those changes. A few examples of why one may want to revisit his or her will include:

  • Marriage
  • Divorce
  • Birth or adoption of a child
  • Wish to change the guardian
  • Wish to change personal representative
  • Death of a beneficiary or representative
  • Asset changes

Getting a divorce? What will happen to your house?

When ending one's marriage, there are a lot of things to think about. One issue often seen in divorce cases in Washington has to do with the marital home. Will one party keep it, will both parties continue to live there for the time being or will it be sold?

If one spouse wishes to keep the marital home, he or she will want to refinance the mortgage into his or her name only. This removes the other party from the mortgage and ends his or her financial responsibility for the property. As the home is often the most significant asset held by a married couple, in order to properly divide community assets, the party not keeping the house may be bought out or given a greater share of other available assets.

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.

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