Divorce And Domestic Law

Divorce And Domestic Relations

Divorce or the end of a committed relationship, is commonly ranked a close second to the death of a loved one in measuring the most stressful life situations one will face. In the U.S., researchers estimate that approximately 50% of all first marriages, and 60% of all second marriages, will end in divorce. Today, more and more couples chose to cohabitate, own property, have children, and support one another without marrying.

The process of ending any committed relationship is not easy from an emotional or financial standpoint. Overnight, two households must exist on the same budget that sustained one. Both partners must establish a new home while enduring the loss of the relationship, and often the collateral loss of friendships and extended family – all while maintaining jobs, attending school, raising children, etc. Effective counsel to navigate a complex court system and legal process, will lessen the stress of a very difficult transition.

The end of a relationship may be complicated by a couple’s unique situation. No two relationships are the same but all relationships end through similar legal processes. Shepherd and Allen effectively represents clients in navigating this process, whether relatively uncomplicated or extremely complex. We try to address these cases similar to business partnership disputes.

Below are some examples of two more complex divorce/domestic relationship cases.

A divorced woman discovered, nearly ten years after her divorce, that her former husband did not disclose a substantial marital asset at the time of the divorce. At trial, the court found that the undisclosed asset was a community asset and awarded our client, ten years after her divorce, $950,000 and her attorney fees. The husband unsuccessfully appealed. The appeals court affirmed the trial courts award and awarded our client additional attorney fees on appeal.

A woman was involved in a committed intimate relationship for nearly 30 years at the time of her male partner’s death. At the time of his death, the home, business, boat, and other major assets were in the man’s name. The adult child of the deceased man, argued that Washington law required the trial court to award all assets in the man’s name to his adult child. The Court of Appeals determined that the woman owned 50% of all the assets, and the trial Court, in equity, could award the Estate’s 50% to the woman if fairness required such an award. On remand, the house, business, one-half of the boat and other assets were awarded to our client, the surviving partner.

“It’s not the heart that compels conclusions in cases, it’s the law.” Hon. Sonia Sotomayor