Seattle and Bellevue Divorce Attorneys Experienced in Property Division, Dividing Marital Assets and Debts
Is every marital estate divided always 50 / 50? Isn’t there some flexibility?
As experienced family law and divorce attorneys, we face property division issues in virtually every divorce.
A 50/50 split when dividing property is just the starting point. There are various legal factors that can tip a property distribution in favor of one spouse. You had better be sure you have an attorney who has enough experience in the courtroom to know how judges are viewing property distribution so you can get the best possible result in your divorce.
As you know, there are serious long-term financial ramifications in any divorce. No one should underestimate the stress of an uncertain financial future. You have a lot to consider when determining the best way to split your assets in a divorce. It’s overwhelming to be in the financial limbo of a divorce.
And for those with children, not only is your financial future at stake, but in a study cited in a recent article in Journal of Divorce and Remarriage*, the investigators discovered that post-divorce conflicts over co-parenting were less likely where the couples were satisfied with their financial agreements.
We’ve all heard about shocking lifestyle changes that occur after a divorce. Statistics range from a 30 percent drop in available income to a 70 percent drop in available income. Whatever the actual numbers are, there is no doubt that your financial situation will be markedly changed after your divorce, so you’d better be sure you get a good solid a settlement, because there is typically no going back for more.
Determining Community Property
In Washington, all property generated by the two parties during the years they were a couple is generally considered community property (or marital property) and is up for division. This includes retirement account benefits. The law in Washington starts with an assumption that community property will be split 50/50.
However, from there the court will consider a variety of factors that could lead to different percentages. For example, when one party is the higher wage earner, the courts may attempt to put the parties in a closer economic position after the divorce through property division and spousal maintenance.
If you are the lower-earning spouse, your lawyer should work with financial professionals to help you select which community assets will be better for you given the tax consequences, the future growth possibilities of that asset, and the fact that you may have less in retirement.
Property division can also be different in high assets cases than it is in mid-to-low asset cases and sometimes a client will need forensic accounting specifically tailored to divorce issues to aid in their case. Amanda DuBois is experienced in divorce cases requiring complex financial analysis, and often works with DuBois Cary associate Denise Hansen, who has a background in accounting.
Helping You Get Through the Emotional Issues
Many people have emotional reactions to financial decisions. This is why you need a strong supportive legal and financial team with a holistic approach to the divorce process. There will probably be at least one point along the way where you will need your team’s help to curb your emotions. Once you have their professional recommendations, you’ll be in the best position to make well-reasoned decisions and obtain a property distribution that will serve your financial future.
Divorce Settlement Lawyers Working for You
At DuBois Cary Law Group, we have years of experience helping people come up with creative and workable solutions to their divorce financial situations. We have a fantastic staff of paralegals who help us gather financial data and put together spreadsheets that take into consideration the lawyers’ analysis of community and separate property. Once we have a handle on what is up for division, we apply the appropriate legal standard to get you the best possible asset distribution. Then together with you we contemplate various settlement possibilities. If necessary, we bring in our CPA team to help determine the best asset distribution, taking into consideration the tax consequences of various assets.
If you have further questions about property division, community property or separate property or want to arrange a confidential consultation with one of our Seattle or Bellevue divorce attorneys, please contact us today. We have offices in Seattle and Bellevue and can meet with you in one or both of those locations as needed. We look forward to meeting you and helping you with any property division dilemma you may be facing.
*Malcore, S.A., Windell, J., Seyun, M., Hill, E. (2010). Predictors of Continued Conflict After Divorce or Separation: Evidence From a High-Conflict Group Treatment Program. Journal of Divorce & Remarriage, 51:1, 50-64.