WA v. CA Divorce Law?
January 28, 2009 11:52 AM   Subscribe

Need help understanding key differences in CA v. WA divorce law.

Yes, I'm in touch with a lawyer but in advance of that discussion I would like to be a bit smarter about understanding the ramifications of filing for divorce in CA v. WA.

Key facts: No children, 10+ year marriage, primary residence has been in WA until mid-last year when wife moved to jointly owned property in CA (me, husband remaining at jointly owned property in WA). Hoping for amicable mediated settlement but you never know.

Specifically: Are there material differences in the way the state laws view spousal support in a case like this where there are no dependents?

Thanks HiveMind!
posted by anonymous to Law & Government (3 answers total)
I'd not take anyone's advice here and wait for the lawyer. You are going to pay the lawyer a lot of money to make you smarter. Be safe and smart, because most of the people who answer these questions are not lawyers and really do not know.

Having said that, I am certain things will be worked out in the end and you will make it.

Disclaimer: Although I am an attorney, I am not your attorney and am not barred in either Washington state or California.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:01 PM on January 28, 2009 [1 favorite]

There's really no better answer than Ironmouth's. I'd just add that unlike, say, buying a car, getting information about the law from lay sources beforehand is not really helpful in consulting an attorney, with the caveat that hearing what other people went through in their divorces can be useful in making the process seem less alien.

Still, you should get information about the attorney. You should also have as clear an idea as possible about what (materially) you want out of the divorce. It's hard in a divorce where the things are so tied into the emotional. But think about what is worth how much fight to you. So I guess you need to think a lot about how what you want, materially, out of the divorce fits with what you want, emotionally, out of the divorce. That will actual ease the process significantly for you, anticipating what's worth it and what isn't, if the process becomes less amicable. I once knew someone who got so busy fighting about the vacuum cleaner, that he missed much important battles going on. I know someone else who walked away from trying to enforce her settlement because the financial burden was much easier to take than having to have any connection to her ex ever again.

Ask questions, too, of your attorney. If you don't understand the answer, ask again. If you're not comfortable pressing your attorney to explain what he's doing, what he expects to result from what he's doing, or why, you should find another attorney. If your attorney is not interested in making sure you understand what's going on, he's not doing his job properly.

If you go into mediation / arbitration, I'd suggest finding stuff to read about BATNA (Best Alternative to Negotiated Agreement). My experience in mediation is: the mediation is over when everyone is equally unhappy.
posted by crush-onastick at 1:07 PM on January 28, 2009

Mediation does tend to make everyone miserable and the arbitration companies wealthy.

Equitable distribution of assets is why you hire an attorney. Let them do the negotiation for you.

And Ironmouth is right. Only a lawyer knows the answers for your situation. (That said; I'm willing to bet money that you want to file in WA and not CA, just judging from what friends have gone through in CA divorces. California is well known for crazy support settlements and property division. )

Sorry to hear you're going through this. Best wishes for everyone involved.
posted by dejah420 at 2:37 PM on January 28, 2009

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