Fiori Law Office

Auburn Family Law Blog

Your finances and divorce: Preparation is key

If divorce is on the horizon, don't wait a single day to review your finances. Doing so will give you a clear idea of where you stand right now, as well as the changes you may face in the near future.

Regardless of your situation, going through a divorce will impact your finances in some way. This is why it's critical to prepare as far in advance as possible. Here are five things you can do:

  • Open individual accounts: You don't want to use joint accounts any longer, as doing so will add more challenges to your divorce case. Open your own bank account and credit card account to keep your finances separate. Also, make sure joint accounts are closed so that your soon-to-be ex-spouse doesn't run up debt that you may be responsible for.
  • Gather all your financial records: This typically includes bank statements, retirement account statements, pay stubs, life insurance policy information and anything else associated with your finances.
  • Create a debt and asset checklist: By listing out your debts and assets, you'll have a clear idea of what you'll need to work through in your divorce. Also, make note of which assets are separate property and which ones are marital. The other person may not agree, but you must know your stance.
  • Review your credit report: You don't want to make any big purchases during your divorce, but you may find yourself spending some money once the process comes to an end. For example, if you're interested in buying your own home, your credit score will have a lot to say about how you move forward.
  • Create a budget: With your household income and expenses changing, a budget can keep you on track during this difficult time. Be reasonable with the numbers you use, as you don't want to give yourself a false sense of security.

How is "virtual visitation" useful?

Supervised visitation refers to the various ways that parents visit with their children via voice, text, video and the internet. Although many parents enjoy visiting with their children virtually like this, not all parents have included a virtual visitation requirement within their parenting plans. However, it might be a good idea to do so, particularly for parents who live a long distance from their children.

Generally, a noncustodial parent who lives a long way from their children will be the one who makes the request for virtual visitation. These visits provide parents and children with a valuable means of connecting and staying in touch even if the parent is living far away.

3 questions to ask before creating a parenting plan

The creation of a sound parenting plan that will serve you and your family for many years to come is, perhaps, the most important part of any Washington parent's divorce process. The thing is, there are a lot of details to keep track of when making a parenting schedule and -- especially if you've never done it before -- it's easy to overlook these considerations.

To get you started off on the right track, here are three vital questions Washington parents should ask when formulating their parenting schedules:

3 tips to help you talk to your kids about divorce

Making the decision to divorce is often very difficult. You probably agonized over it for months or even years, but now that you made your choice, you know that it is time to start the process. You will have to file a petition for divorce, make certain decisions regarding the division of your Auburn property and organize your finances so that you can make the right choices during the divorce settlement. However, one of the tasks you must do is to tell your children.

Divorce often has a lifelong impact on children and they will probably remember the moment you tell them about it for the rest of their lives. This means that you should take the time to prepare how and when you will deliver then news. The following tips can help you when it comes time to talk to your children about divorce.

Accurate property value estimates are essential in a divorce

Perhaps you bought a piece of antique furniture or a piece of modern art 20 years ago and you haven't a clue what it's worth today. Perhaps the beach cottage you and your husband enjoyed as a weekend retreat increased in value tremendously since purchasing it 10 years ago. If you and your spouse own a lot of different high-value assets together, it's essential that you obtain accurate property estimates to ensure that you receive fair treatment during the asset division process of your divorce.

Here are a few things to keep in mind about various assets during your property division process:

How to communicate that you want to get a divorce

You may have arrived at your decision to divorce in secret. Perhaps you know that your spouse feels differently, and that he or she would prefer to stay with you until the end of time, but you know your marriage has to end. How do you break the news? How do you tell your spouse you want to be alone the right way?

The truth is, there is no "right way" to communicate that you want to have a divorce, but you may be able to help the discussion be more balanced, respectful and compassionate by following the advice below:

My ex is behind on child support: What are my options?

When your ex fails to pay the full amount of child support due, it's important to report the issue to the court as soon as possible. You can also turn to your local district attorney's office for help with enforcing your child support orders.

The Child Support Enforcement Act of 1984 empowers district attorneys to assist parents who are owed child support. The district attorney will serve the delinquent parent with legal papers to arrange a payment plan.

Custody and unmarried parents: Your rights

When two people are not married at the time of a child's birth, only the mother is legally recognized. A father must sign a birth certificate and acknowledge being the parent of the child before he obtains rights.

Once a father establishes his legal right to have responsibility for a child, he may seek custody. Until a court states otherwise, a mother of a child obtains and retains sole physical custody of her child until the father takes action to obtain custody. It is nearly impossible for an unwed father to obtain custody of his child if the child's mother is a fit parent, but he can still seek fair custody rights.

Advice for child custody modifications

If you have a change in circumstances that makes your current child visitation schedule difficult or impossible, you might need to request a child custody modification. In the best of circumstances the other parent will agree to whatever modifications you require. In the worst of circumstances, you may need to go to court.

To receive a court-ordered child custody modification, you'll need to submit a petition to change your current court orders. You'll then go to a hearing before a judge, who will decide whether to grant your petition or not.

In Washington, there's a low-cost alternative to hiring (or becoming) a lawyer

I just read The Seattle Times' article, "In Washington, there's a low-cost alternative to hiring (or becoming) a lawyer", and I think you might enjoy it, too. You can read the full article here:


Fiori Law Office, Inc.
731 West Main Street
Auburn, WA 98001

Phone: 253-218-3728
Fax: 253-735-3436
Map & Directions