Important Considerations After Your Divorce

Many people take a great deal of time to think about how to prepare themselves for the divorce process. They consider child custody, child support, spousal support, and how property will be divided. However, many people do not take as much time to consider what legal steps to take after a divorce, or what their legal rights are weeks or years following their divorce. Consider these important factors as you either consider divorce, are in the process of divorce, or are recently divorced.

Estate Planning

Following a divorce, you may feel as if the last thing you want to do is more legal paperwork. However, you should take the time to consider how and when you will need to completely update your estate plan. Many people feel that if they do not have substantial assets, then they do not need to consider their estate planning needs. However, a divorce changes a person’s assets as many are divided within the divorce process. If you make the decision to keep your estate planning documents the same following a divorce, such as a Last Will and Testament, Living Trust, or other estate planning documents, your ex-spouse may have the legal right to your assets or property following your death. In some cases, your ex-spouse may have the legal right to make medical decisions on your behalf. Consider making changes to your estate planning documents now:

  • Make any decisions you make in writing. Whatever decisions you make, you should take the time to ensure that they are in writing and legally executed correctly.
  • Choose new beneficiaries. You should look at all of your estate planning documents such as your Last Will and Testament, power of attorney, living trusts, etc. to see who is listed as the beneficiary, trustee, executor, or personal representative and see if there are any changes you want to make.
  • Consider Possible Disability. In most cases, people only think of what will happen to them following their death. However, there are cases where a person becomes permanently or totally disabled. In some of these cases, a power of attorney will make health directives on your behalf or be the trustee and have discretionary authority over how to spend your money if you become incapacitated. If your ex-spouse is listed on any of these types of legal documents, you may want to consider revising them with your current wishes.
  • Consider Minors. You may have thought a lot about legal matters relating to your child during the divorce process such as child custody and child support. However, following your divorce, you should consider how you want them taken care of if something were to happen to you. Revisiting your estate planning documents will ensure that they are taken care of in the way that you want them, with the correct trustees having discretionary authority over any trusts.
  • Taxes. Following a divorce, it is likely that your assets have changed considerably. If this is the case, your taxes may have changed as well. You should make sure that you receive all the tax benefits appropriate for your unique situation and financial concerns.
  • Titling of Assets. In many cases, spouses will have titled their assets as joint ownership with rights of survivorship for spouses. If you have any assets titled in this way, you may consider changing this so that your ex-spouse does not have a legal right to any of your assets after your divorce. Also, make sure that you remove your spouse from any insurance policies, retirement plans or other accounts.
Child Custody

The divorce process will establish child custody arrangements as well as child support regarding the children of both spouses. However, there are times following a divorce that child custody arrangements need to be revisited, and those arrangements need to be changed. The state of North Carolina allows parents to revisit the original child custody arrangements and request a new schedule for their children to visit parents. Some of the reasons that a parent may consider changing their child custody arrangement may include changes in the following:

  • Changes in the location of a parent
  • Changes in the academic, physical, or social needs of the child
  • Change in the physical or emotional stability of one parent
  • Incarceration of a parent
Contact an Experienced Family Law Attorney

If you are considering a divorce in Mooresville, North Carolina, you should consider how your assets and property, as well as your child custody arrangements, will also be handled following your divorce. Contact an experienced divorce attorney to help you understand all of your legal rights at Arnold & Smith, PLLC at 704.370.2828 or online today for your initial consultation.