Contemplating Divorce: What to Consider Before You Cut Ties

Posted March 21, 2013 in Family Law by Gina Policastri.

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March 21, 2013
Contemplating Divorce: What to Consider Before You Cut Ties
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Divorce is simple, right? Absolutely not, unfortunately.  There is a great deal to consider—financially and emotionally—before filing for a divorce. In some startling ways, divorce slams one chapter of your life closed. Nevertheless, obtaining a divorce decree could be the first step into the first chapter of the new life you’ve been dreaming of.

Natasha Burton’s article, “What I Wish I Knew Before I Got Divorced”* features solid considerations for individuals who are thinking about divorce or legal separation. Though Burton’s article was written for a female audience, the predominant message of the article applies to everyone: be prepared in more ways than one. Some noteworthy observations and considerations:

  1. Recovery from divorce could take you a long time—which is absolutely normal.
  2. Choose your legal counsel wisely.
  3. Create a detailed plan for tackling your future living expenses.
  4. Take a hard look at your joint finances and educate yourself.
  5. Be ready for “unexpected” costs like health insurance.
  6. Being vengeful toward your spouse will probably harm your family in the end and is public record.
  7. Being divorced is not something to be ashamed of.
  8. The holidays will be hard—really hard.
  9. Your children will suffer from the divorce and may act out.
  10. Finally, divorce can be completely worth it.

These considerations highlight just how far reaching the impact of a divorce can be and why it is so important to be fully prepared.  Take it from Burton and be prepared from the start by choosing your legal counsel wisely. Contact the certified Family Law Specialists (as certified by The State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization) at Lonich & Patton to learn about your legal options. Our attorneys have decades of experience handling complex family law matters.

Please remember that each individual situation is unique and results discussed in this post are not a guarantee of future results.  While this post may include legal issues, it is not legal advice.  Use of this site does not create an attorney-client relationship.

*Used with permission via email from Women’s Day author Natasha Burton.

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I’m Officially Divorced, Now What?

Posted March 14, 2013 in Estate Planning, Family Law by Michael Lonich.

You’re officially divorced and positive that everything in your life is settled (legally, anyway). Unfortunately, that might not be the case if your estate planning documents still reflect your old marital status. Fortunately, any provisions in your existing Will that leave assets to your ex-spouse will be revoked by law after divorce. Nevertheless, it is imperative that you actively take steps to create a new will and generally update your estate plan to ensure that the appropriate individuals in your life will control your legal rights and property when you die or become incapacitated. That is, unless you still wish to bequeath property to your ex-spouse at death. Since that is probably not the case, here are some estate planning changes to consider after divorce:

  1. Close any joint accounts like credit cards or savings accounts that you shared with your ex.
  2. Create a fresh Will and update any Guardianship provisions regarding what will happen to your children in the event that something happens to both you and your ex-spouse.
  3. Update any Trusts and reevaluate who your beneficiaries should be and how much property you’d like them to receive and when.
  4. Update all insurance policies, IRA’s, 401k’s, or any other retirement accounts that may name your ex as a beneficiary. These will not automatically change after divorce.
  5. Destroy or revoke your previous Durable Power of Attorney if it named your ex-spouse and create a new one.
  6. Destroy or revoke your previous Advance Health Care Directive if it authorized your ex-spouse to make future health care decisions on your behalf.

It is important to remember that at death, according to the court, whatever your legal document says goes. So, if you do not want your ex-spouse to receive certain property or benefits, you should see a licensed attorney to revoke your old estate plan and incorporate your current wishes into a new one. Hopefully, an updated estate plan can give you some peace of mind as you begin your new life after divorce.

The attorneys at Lonich & Patton have years of experience handling complex estate planning matters including wills and living trusts. If you are interested in developing an estate plan or reviewing your current estate plan, contact the experienced estate planning attorneys at Lonich & Patton for further information and a free half-hour consultation.

Please remember that each individual situation is unique and results discussed in this post are not a guarantee of future results.  While this post may detail general legal issues, it is not legal advice.  Use of this site does not create an attorney-client relationship.

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