Washington residents over the age of 50 and facing a “gray” divorce after decades of marriage can have a great many legal issues to consider. However, reducing physical and mental stress may take priority over entering into a courtroom for a heated battle over property division or other important issues. 

According to the Holmes-Rahe Stress Inventory scale, divorce rates as the second-highest cause of stress, ranking just below the death of a child or spouse. As reported by U.S. News & World Report, a gray divorce may affect the health of the individuals involved. 

When a couple would rather dissolve their marriage quickly and amicably — and without jeopardizing either spouse’s health — a collaborative approach may help to achieve mutually agreeable results. Collaborative divorce law provides a less-stressful out-of-court facilitated process through which the parties can reach a negotiated agreement. 

Division of assets in a community property state 

During a divorce in the Evergreen State, all of the assets acquired during a marriage belong to the couple’s community property. Each individual owns exactly half unless the spouses have an agreement specifying certain properties belong separately to one spouse. Property that one spouse received as a gift or inheritance, however, does not belong to the couple’s community and requires no decision regarding its ownership. 

Reducing stress through collaborative effort 

Divorce may cause a significant and often painful degree of stress, especially when a couple faces difficult decisions regarding who takes sole ownership of a vital or much-desired marital property. Because some assets cannot split equally, spouses may need to negotiate a property division agreement. In some cases, one spouse may decide to pay the other spouse half of the established value of a property, similar to how business partners can buy each other out. Some couples may decide to instead sell an asset and split its proceeds equally. 

Through a collaborative law approach, a couple may negotiate between themselves on how to divide their property. This allows them to come to an agreement without the intervention of a family court judge.