How do I prepare for my divorce?
Divorce is life changing. If you or a loved one is thinking about moving forward with the next chapter of life by filing for a divorce in Washington, you should consider taking these next steps in order to prepare you for the journey.
“Divorce isn’t such a tragedy. A tragedy’s staying in an unhappy marriage, teaching your children the wrong things about love. Nobody ever died of divorce.” Jennifer Weiner, Fly Away Home
There will be a multitude of significant decisions to make during the divorce process. Simply put, the more organized you are – the more prepared you will be to make many of those decisions…especially if you have minor children and liquid assets.
You should try to prepare financially for the divorce itself (like court fees, legal fees, moving fees, etc.). You should also start preparing for the reality of living in separate households. We recommend creating both a marital budget to better understand current monthly expenses living jointly as well as a separate household budget so that you can plan and balance as necessary.
We also recommend obtaining copies of the following important documents:
- SSNs and Drivers license numbers;
- Pay stubs (preferably at least the last 6 months worth);
- W2’s & most recent federal and state tax returns;
- Bank account statements and account numbers;
- Credit card statements and account numbers;
- Retirement account statements and account numbers;
- Brokerage account statements and account numbers;
- Insurance policies and account numbers (health, property, etc.);
- Mortgage statements;
- Car loan statements and account numbers;
- List of assets (Vehicle’s and VIN’s, Real Property, other types of personal property) – it is also wise to get a professional evaluation of value on major assets;
- List of debts (including names and numbers of all accounts, holders, and current statement or balance).
Get Support, Build a Strong Community, & Stay Healthy
Your mental health is very important and navigating the turbulent waters of divorce will be hard work at times. If you have minor children, their mental health will also be impacted by this very stressful transition.
The divorce process will also take a toll on your physical health. Many people experience insomnia, weakened immune systems, and weight gain.
We highly recommend you find a mental health support system for yourself and any minor children. Another suggestion would be to eat healthily, sleep well, talk to your support system, and work out to start your next chapter in a life that is #IntentionallyDifferent.
Divorce Support Tips:
- Consult with your doctor or a mental health professional to establish a plan for both your mental and physical health prior to starting your divorce;
- Talk with others about how have gone through a divorce;
- Spend time with friends and family;
- Eat well, work out, and get sleep;
Understand How Social Media Posts Impact Your Case
Washington Divorce Laws
Washington continues to be one of the fastest growing states in the country, which means that there is an increasing number of transplants discovering the beauty of our great state. Whether you are a transplant or have lived here your entire life, you’ll want to educate yourself on our Divorce Laws. Doing so will help you better understand the choices and options that you have when forming your plan and may also help you balance your expectations while on this rollercoaster ride.
Property Division in Washington Divorces
Washington is a community property state. The courts are required to divide all property, whether separate property or community property, in an equitable fashion.
Factors the court may consider:
- The different types of community property and how much you both have accumulated (both debt and assets) during your marriage;
- The different types of separate property and how much you each brought into the marriage or domestic partnership;
- The length of your marriage;
- The current income of the parties as well as the income potential of the parties;
- The ages of both parties;
- The education level of both parties;
- The financial needs of both parties;
- Whether there are medical conditions creating financial needs;
- Whether the parties lived together prior to marriage or entering into the domestic partnership.
Types of assets and debts divided in Divorce