Archive For: Divorce & Family Law

Uncommon Assets Requiring Division In Divorce In Washington State

Posted: May 1, 2019

By: Washington State Family Law Lawyer Dimitra S. Scott

If you are in a divorce process, you have to think outside the box when you consider division of your estate—your estate may be more than just homes, cars, investments, and retirement accounts. Think about the activities, vacations, and other benefits you’ve enjoyed together, and you may find there are additional items up for discussion. Some of the more uncommon assets requiring division include:

• Airline miles and Reward Points
• Cryptocurrency
• Venmo or Paypal accounts
• Pets (as they are considered property and, therefore, an asset)
• Gold/Silver/Other precious metals...Read More

Community Property vs. Separate Property In Washington State

Posted: May 1, 2019

By: Washington State Family Law Lawyer Anne B. Bennette

In a marriage dissolution, individuals frequently ask what assets and debts are subject to the Court’s orders in a divorce.  All separate and community property is subject to division and distribution in a divorce.  As such, it is important to understand what is a spouse’s separate property versus what is the marital community property.  Courts must identify the marriage’s community property and each partner’s separate property in order to understand how to divide the assets upon divorce.  Below we discuss how courts define community and separate property, as well as the complexities involved with defining community...Read More

Committed Intimate Relationships And Estate Planning In Washington State

Posted: Apr 30, 2019

By: Washington State Estate Planning & Probate Lawyer Casey E. Clifton

What is a Committed Intimate Relationship?

In Washington State, common-law marriage—legal recognition of marriage without having formally registered their relationship—is not lawful.  However, Washington courts have adopted a definition for a long-term, unmarried relationship known as a committed intimidate relationship (“CIR”). The existence of a CIR creates a presumption that all property acquired during the relationship is owned by both parties.

A court must examine several factors to determine whether a relationship qualifies as a CIR:

  • How long has the couple been together/lived together?
  • Was the cohabitation continuous?
  • Did the parties present themselves as a long-term, committed couple?
  • Did...Read More

How Does The Court Divide Assets In A Divorce?

Posted: Apr 9, 2019

By: Washington State Family Law Lawyer Dimitra S. Scott

Individuals entering divorce proceedings often hold many questions about the process. When counseling people through divorce we consistently encounter one question: how will the marital assets be divided by the Court?

Factors Affecting Asset Division

RCW 26.09.080 provides us with an answer in that “the court shall…make such disposition of the property and the liabilities of the parties, either community or separate, as shall appear just and equitable after considering all relevant factors”. The statute goes on to discuss the four relevant factors:

  • The marriage’s community property.
  • Each partner’s separate property.
  • The duration of the...Read More

Cryptocurrency And Divorce In Washington State

Posted: Mar 27, 2019

By: Washington State Family Law Lawyer Dimitra S. Scott

Great excitement and uncertainty surround the evolving cryptocurrency market (“crypto”).   As crypto grows in popularity as an investment or form of currency exchanged in lieu of cash, so grow the issues crypto presents in divorce and legal separation cases.  Given the unknowns that the crypto industry brings, involvement of these assets in our cases can be complex.

What is cryptocurrency?

Cryptocurrency is a medium of exchange utilizing certain encryption techniques to secure transactions and control the introduction of new crypto units into the market.  Unlike traditional currency, there is no centralized power (i.e. a government) regulating...Read More

Attorneys’ Fees, Alimony, And The New Tax Law In Washington State

Posted: Feb 28, 2019

By: Washington State Family Law Lawyer Anne B. Bennette

Last month, I wrote an article discussing how The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act affected spousal support.  The article briefly outlines how the tax status of alimony changed to tax-neutral. Therefore, under the new tax law, alimony is no longer a tax-deductible expenditure, nor can it be considered income for recipients. This alteration not only affects the tax status of alimony, but also the tax status of legal fees.

Under the old tax code, legal fees regarding alimony proceedings were also considered tax deductible.  A recipient spouse who sought Court intervention to ensure he or she...Read More

Support Through College, University, Or Vocational School In Washington State

Posted: Jan 30, 2019

By: Washington State Family Law Lawyer Dimitra S. Scott

Around this time every year, high school students begin preparing and sending out applications for admission to colleges, universities, or vocational schools.  For individuals with a Child Support Order, this is a critical time to review the order.

When your Order was entered, the Court may have assigned responsibility for payment of your child’s post-secondary educational expenses—tuition, room & board, books, health insurance, auto insurance, a student allowance, and other similar expenses.

However, in many cases, allocation of these college, university, and vocational school expenses are “reserved” for future determination.  If the issue was “reserved”, you must...Read More

How The New Tax Law Affects Spousal Support In Washington State

Posted: Jan 21, 2019

By: Washington State Family Law Lawyer Anne B. Bennette

In 2017, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act became law. Now, in 2019, one aspect of the new tax law takes effect by altering taxation of spousal support (‘alimony’). Under the old tax code, spousal support was considered tax deductible for the payer and counted as income for the receiver. With the inception of the new legislation comes a change making spousal support tax neutral. For individuals paying spousal support, such payments are no longer considered tax-deductible expenditures.  For the recipient, such payments are no longer considered income.  The deductibility of spousal support in divorce and separation proceedings was...Read More

Amicable Divorce? You Still Need to Update Your Estate Plan!

Posted: Feb 20, 2018

By: BeresfordBooth

Getting a divorce is never easy --- but it certainly is less stressful when it is done amicably. In fact, many couples decide that they don’t need the advice of counsel because they are able to agree on the division of assets and liabilities --- and thus they proceed with filing pro se. Further, many couples remain friendly – and sometimes even more so – after the divorce, finding they actually get along better and like each other more outside of the confines of the marital relationship.

In these situations, it is often the case that the spouses do not...Read More

Tax Bill Impact On Divorce And Separation Settlements: Paying Spousal Maintenance Lost Its Tax Advantage

Posted: Dec 28, 2017

By: Washington State Family Law Lawyer Dimitra S. Scott

For the past 75 years, a party who pays Spousal Maintenance/Alimony received the benefit of a tax deductible expense, and the party receiving spousal maintenance/alimony had the burden of paying income tax on the maintenance received. The tax consequences will change dramatically effective January 1, 2019.

Under the new Tax Plan, for all divorce decrees and separation agreements executed after December 31, 2018, spousal maintenance/alimony payments are NOT a tax deductible expense. Such maintenance/alimony payments are treated as tax neutral, like child support is today (e.g., neither a deductible expense to the parent who pays, nor income...Read More