Seattle Divorce Lawyers Blog

Iggy Azalea Served Divorce Papers


According to online sources, the divorce papers were filed in a Texas court. Under Texas law a common law marriage exists if the couple has agreed to be married, live together in Texas as husband and wife, and tell other people they are married.

Several online news sites have stated:

“Wine is asking a court to bar Azalea from selling various assets accumulated during their union. They have previously been at odds over the rights to music she penned while they were together. If a judge recognizes the validity of the marriage than the “Fancy” rapper’s music becomes community property and could be split 50/50.”

Azalea’s rep has told TMZ that Azalea has “never held herself out as Hefe’s wife and never agreed to be married.”

Common law marriage is a topic that is often misunderstood, particularly in Washington State.

While Texas does recognize common law marriages, Washington State does not. That being said, Washington State does recognize “committed intimate relationships” (formerly referred to as meretricious relationships). A “committed intimate relationship” is a marriage-like relationship that must meet specific criteria that include: the length of the relationship, continuous cohabitation, the intent of the parties involved in the relationship, and the pooling of resources and service for joint projects.

A “committed intimate relationship” can create some legal challenges if the relationship ends. Under certain circumstances the courts can order a fair and equitable division of property acquired during the relationship.  If you would like specific answers regarding Washington “committed intimate relationships” please contact our office. Our managing attorney, Ken Alan, is happy to discuss your unique circumstances over the phone at no charge. (206) 448-1010


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Attorney Bart Tomerlin Joins the Goldberg Jones Team

Bart Tomerlin Attorney

Goldberg Jones would like to extend a warm welcome to Bart Tomerlin, who recently joined our team.

Bart is exceptional attorney and a decorated veteran. Bart brings more than 21 years of military experience to the firm; He has served in both the Navy and the Coast Guard. In addition to his military service Bart also brings more than 14 years of legal experience to the table— and is an invaluable resource for husbands and fathers facing family law issues in Western Washington.

Bart’s military service and excellence has been recognized with the Meritorious Service Medal, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Navy & Marine Corps Commendation Medal, Navy & Marine Corps Achievement Medal, the Coast Guard Achievement Medal, and the Iraq Campaign Medal.

Managing attorney, Ken Alan, commented on the addition of Bart saying, “Bart is a huge asset to men facing divorce and custody issues. His demeanor, experience, and ability to cut to the chase are only a few of the qualities that make him an outstanding attorney.”

Bart received his undergraduate degree from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He received his Juris Doctor from Michigan State University College of Law and rounded out his education by earning a Master of Laws (in taxation) from the University of Washington. The combination of Bart’s education, legal experience, and military service make him a fierce advocate for defending men’s rights.


A House Divided

divorce dividing property

Dividing the marital home in a divorce is often a close second when it comes to issues of contention (the front runner is child custody).  Real estate is frequently a couple’s most significant asset and deciding how to distribute the property can be tricky, particularly if you still have a mortgage. Your lender will continue to consider you and your spouse jointly obligated until the property is either sold or refinanced.

Unlike liquid assets (assets that can quickly be converted to cash with minimal impact to value) real-estate poses some unique challenges like determining if either spouse will remain in the home after the divorce, accurately valuing the property, and reaching a reasonable distribution of any equity in the property.

There are three common methods for determining the property’s value: the tax assessed value, an appraiser, or an evaluation by a realtor.

Tax Assessed Value

This method is the least common and uses the property’s tax assessed value. The tax-assessed value is usually the same as the property’s fair market value. This is the price that a property should sell under normal market conditions. It is important to note that “normal” is subjective but generally speaking a normal market is one that is not in distress—meaning there haven’t been a large number of foreclosures or other unusual circumstances that would affect property prices within the market.

An Appraiser

A real estate appraisers estimate a property’s values by evaluating a number of factors such as location, condition, and unique characteristics. Once the property has been evaluated the appraiser will determine the approximate value by considering the results of the evaluation, other factors, and recent sales of comparable homes. The cost to hire an appraiser will vary, but the average is around $500.

Evaluation by a Realtor

While the testimony of a realtor in regards to the valuation of a property is not admissible in a divorce trial, this is a common method of valuation. A realtor that is familiar with the market can evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the property and estimate the potential selling price on the open market. This can be the most cost effective method of valuing the property, as some realtors will provide this service for a nominal fee.

home-366927_640Once the value of the property has been determined the next challenge is determining how the asset will be divided. There are several options available to couples and the best choice will depend on your unique situation.  A buyout by one spouse is a common way to divide real estate.

If neither party is adamant about staying in the house, selling the property might be a good choice.  In a healthy real estate market this can be the simplest solution. The property is sold and any equity is divided.

If the property has negative equity (you owe more than the fair market value) you will have to find a solution for dividing the debt. This might include trying to refinance the property, getting a loan modification, doing a short sale, foreclosure, or filing for bankruptcy.  If your property has negative equity, it is imperative that you work with an attorney and financial planner to evaluate all your options and decide on the best course of action given your personal circumstances.

If the couple decides one person will stay in the home, then the divorce decree should state that the person remaining must refinance the property by a date determined by the court. The refinance will remove the other spouse from the mortgage and removing any financial obligation. Usually the spouse that is keeping the house will also need to compensate the vacating spouse for any equity that has accrued.

This is a rough outline of some of the factors and options that are used to distribute a property in divorce. Dividing real estate is complicated and there are numerous ways to configure how a property is split. Every situation is unique and any information found online might not be applicable to your specific circumstances. If you would like more information regarding your unique situation, please give us a call. Our managing attorney, Ken Alan, is happy to answer questions over the phone at no charge. For an in-depth evaluation of your circumstances, we offer an in-office initial consultation for $95.

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Child Support and High School Graduation

support payments past age 18 Seattle divorce attorney, Rick Jones, stopped by Life Coach to provide some Washington divorce and custody help. As always, there was no shortage of callers needing advice. Life-Coach

The first caller has two children and has been divorced for several years. At the time of the divorce, both parties agreed that the support payments would be $222 a month. After the divorce the caller’s ex wife went on the State Support system. The State then tripled the caller’s support payments to $666. The parenting plan requires support payments to continue until the children are 18 or graduate high school, which ever happens later.

The caller’s son dropped out of high school more than 18 months ago, but has recently reenrolled. The caller wanted to know how he can address the situation and have the support payments modified.

Rick advised the caller that his son’s re enrollment in school could be a bit of a shill to capitalize on the extension of child support. Rick explained that the probability of changing the amount of support now is low, but by presenting the situation to the courts, the caller can establish an “institutional memory” that will set the bar for future recourse. If the son doesn’t meet the progress requirements that he said he was going to, the caller can then revisit the modification to reduce child support payments.

Another caller wanted to know how to protect himself from his wife’s threats of divorce. His wife earns more money than the caller and has threatened divorce and to kick him out onto the street. Rick recommended he take action to plan ahead and have a strategy in place to maintain access to money, possessions, and a temporary place to live. You can hear all of Rick’s advice in the clip below. If you need answers regarding divorce, custody, or any other family law issue, please call us at (206) 448-1010.


How Long Does a Divorce in Washington Take?

length of divorce in Washington state

The minimum amount of time that is required for a divorce to be final can vary from state to state.  In some states, like New Hampshire, a divorce can be final in a couple of weeks; other states have a mandatory waiting period that can exceed six months.

A Washington divorce will take a minimum of three months, but many divorces take longer. The waiting period for divorce in Washington State is three months. The waiting period begins when the divorce action is first filed. If both parties agree on all aspects of the divorce, including child custody, division of assets and debts, spousal support payments, and any other issues that are relevant, the a judge can sign their divorce decree after three months, thereby finalizing the divorce.

Unfortunately for many men, the end of their marriage is often not amicable. The result is a divorce process that exceeds six months. Divorces that are contentious will often require not only additional time, but also additional resources. The more complicated the divorce, the more likely you will need to enlist the help of other professionals in addition to your attorney.

The two most common specialists needed in a divorce are: Guardian ad Litem, and a forensic accountant. The more complex your situation, the more likely it is that you will need to enlist additional help.

What do these professionals do?

Guardian ad Litem

A guardian ad litem (GAL) is a court appointed advocate for your child (or children). Their job is to protect the interests and well being of you kids throughout the divorce.  As an officer of the court the GAL is required to remain independent, avoid conflicts of interest, be informed about the case, and conduct themselves in a professional manner.

A guardian ad litem will be appointed to a case either by request of one of the parties or by the courts decision. The court will always appoint a GAL in cases that involve substance abuse, domestic violence, or any other situation that poses a threat to the child’s welfare.

Forensic Accountant

A forensic accountant is a highly trained profession (frequently a CPA) that uses auditing, accounting, and investigative skills to examine the financial documents and report on those findings in a court of law.

Forensic accountants are used in a plethora of legal disputes. In family law they are most frequently used for valuations of business and retirement accounts. Additionally, forensic accountants can be hired to uncover assets that a spouse may be trying to hide. The more complex the forensic accountant’s investigation, the more time it will add to the length of the divorce.

In the event that a settlement can’t be reached, your divorce will go to trial. When a divorce goes to trial, the case is heard and then a judge determines the outcome. On average, divorces that go to trial can take in excess of one year.

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