Call For A Free Consultation - (425) 276-7390

DC Nguyen Law

The First Steps: When A Divorce Is Getting Underway

A woman on a couch in front of her husband, hand on mouth, looking at engagement ring, reflecting emotions during divorce proceedingsDivorce is, more often than not, an incredibly difficult ordeal to experience. It’s easy for lawyers to focus only on the legal aspects of the process, but as much as this makes sense, I prefer to adopt a high-level view and discuss the front end of divorce with my clients, along with many other facets. Doing so means I can provide them with more comprehensive support as they themselves begin contemplating divorce in Washington – or perhaps are blindsided and find themselves in the midst of their spouse or significant other as already having started the process.

Preparing For Divorce

Washington State is a community property state, which means anything that was acquired during the marriage is presumptively community property. So, even if your name was not titled on an asset or you never worked to contribute to it, you still have a right to it.

In the eyes of the court, contributions to the marriage extend far beyond strictly financial ones. Let’s say you were the primary breadwinner, and your spouse dedicated themselves to raising your three children — a handful, to be sure! — generally managing the day-to-day activity of the household and supporting the family in other non-financial ways. This is an invaluable contribution to the family ‘community.’ As such, these non-financial contributions hold significant weight in divorce proceedings.

Unfortunately, societal perceptions often dramatically undervalue the contributions of the homemaker. You may have seen or heard of the quite revealing YouTube video where someone posed as someone conducting a job interview. The mock interviewees were appalled by the amount of work they had to do for the amount of pay.

What they didn’t know as they reacted was that the job description was, in essence, based on that of a stay-at-home mom. Although fun for those not in the midst of a divorce or happily married yet going through the day-to-day of raising three children, this video dramatically highlights the disparity between perceived value and actual contributions.

Washington court fortunately — and rightly — recognizes the intrinsic value of these non-financial contributions and acknowledges them as equal to the financial contributions of the working spouse. This equitable consideration ensures that all aspects of a partner’s contributions are taken into account when determining asset division and support arrangements in divorce proceedings.

Period Of Legal Separation

In Washington, there’s no specific timeframe required for legal separation prior to formally filing for a divorce. Being a no-fault state, anyone can initiate divorce proceedings at any time without needing a specific reason, as long as one party wants to move forward in that direction. The other party cannot prevent the process from moving forward. Interestingly, many couples opt for a separation but never formally file for a dissolution.

While there’s no mandated separation period, the date of separation is important, especially later in the divorce process. This date holds particular significance in asset division proceedings. In cases where assets like retirement accounts or 401(k)s are considered community property, the period of community property ownership typically begins with the date of marriage to the date of separation. As a result, determining the precise date of separation is crucial, directly influencing how assets are divided and their respective values in the divorce process.

For more information on Contemplating Divorce In Washington DC, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (425) 276-7390 today.

Accessibility Accessibility
× Accessibility Menu CTRL+U