Fault versus No Fault, and When Fault Matters


When a marriage disintegrates, both spouses need closure. For some people, this means that he or she will want a court to declare that the other spouse is at fault for the break-down of the marriage. Unfortunately for these people, Washington is a “no fault” divorce state. This means that a spouse does not need to allege that either person is responsible for the marriage falling apart. Instead, all that must be Read More

Bankruptcy and Divorce

Divorce is a stressful time, especially when it comes to finances.  Couples have carefully crafted a life and planned for a future together, often taking into account two incomes when considering how bills will be paid or purchases to make.  When spouses separate or file for divorce, they must come up with new solutions to pay their debts and make ends meet while living on just one income.  In some circumstances, one Read More

LGBT Divorce and How Issues are Different and Similar

On June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States handed down the landmark decision of Obergefell v. Hodges, which determined that the Fourteenth Amendment required states to recognize same-sex marriages.  This means that no state may deny a same-sex couple the right to marry.  Along with same-sex marriage, however, also comes same-sex divorce.  Same-sex divorces have some of the same issues as heterosexual Read More

Family Pets and Divorce

Pet ownership is exceedingly common in the United states with nearly 80 million households having dogs, cats, or other pets. Many people think of their pets as members of the family, so if the family is going to be divided by divorce, the issue of what will happen to the family pet becomes a central issue. Washington law considers pets to be personal property, and the decision on what will happen to the pet after a Read More

No Fault Divorce When One Party is in the Wrong

Washington is a “no fault” divorce state. This means that the only ground that will be used to grant a divorce is a determination that the marriage is “irretrievably broken.”  This does simplify divorce proceedings in that it is no longer necessary to produce proof that one of the spouses is responsible for the disintegration of the spouses’ relationship and marriage. To a wronged spouse, this may not always feel Read More

Unsecured Debt in Divorce

Most Americans carry credit card debt. In fact, the average American household has about $5,000 of just credit card debt. “Unsecured debt” is the legal term for debt that is not associated with collateral, like a vehicle loan or a mortgage would be. Credit card debt, medical debt, and student loans are three very common types of unsecured debt. When a divorce is pending, this debt must be properly characterized as Read More

What is Divisible in Divorce?

Division of assets and debts in a divorce is usually a central issue for any couple. Any property acquired by the parties before the marriage is typically separate property while anything acquired during the marriage is marital property (also referred to as “community property”) with a few exceptions. For example, property received by devise typically is not marital property. This means that if one spouse receives Read More

Family Businesses and Divorce

Once a couple has made the decision to get a divorce, one of the big issues will immediately become how to divide up the marital assets and debts. Marital property and marital debt is subject to an equitable distribution by the court, whereas separate property typically will belong to the spouse who owned it before the marriage. Family businesses can present special challenges in a divorce when trying to divide the Read More

Options for the Marital Residence in Divorce

Real estate, and more specifically, the marital residence, frequently is the largest asset to be divided in a divorce. The financial constraints of a divorce will often mean that the parties have limited choices on how to deal with the house in the divorce. If the residence you share with your spouse is marital property, both you and your spouse are entitled to a share of the equity. The question then becomes, how do Read More

Expert Witnesses for Property Division in Divorce

Division of the marital estate can be one of the most complex parts of a divorce. Each party is entitled to his or her share of all marital assets and debts, as Washington is a community property state. Complications often arise, unfortunately, when attempting to place an accurate value on certain assets. An expert witness can help with ascertaining the correct value and making a recommendation to the court as to how Read More