Just as no two marriages are the same, neither are any two divorces. What worked for a friend or family member in a divorce might not work for you. That’s okay—there are several alternative paths you can take as you go through your own process. A family law attorney can help you decide which alternative will get you the best results in your situation.
The following are the four main types of divorce alternatives and the benefits and downsides of each.
The only real advantage of a DIY divorce (without the assistance of an attorney) is that the upfront cost is less. While some people are able to navigate their way through the process with little to no help, it is important to consider the long-term costs associated with choosing this method rather than focusing only on the initial out-of-pocket expense. Examples of this would be waiving rights or your interest in assets you may have otherwise been entitled to and the expense to fix your documents in the event you find yourself in over your head and make a mistake. Even the most intelligent of people oftentimes find the process to be overwhelming or frustrating simply because they are unfamiliar with the law and legal requirements or they have trouble looking at their case from an objective viewpoint. This is why it is not uncommon for attorneys to hire other attorneys to represent them in their own personal matters.
In the event you opt to do your own divorce, it is still highly recommended that you consult with and/or hire an attorney to providing consulting services throughout the process to ensure you know your legal rights and obligations. This information can be invaluable when making decisions that are likely to affect you for several years to come, if not for life.
Collaborative Law involves both parties meeting along with their attorneys. A party will also be able to meet with their collaborative law attorney separately to discuss a collaborative strategy prior to these sessions.
Divorce Options Workshop provides participants with vital information on the different process options available for family law matters so you can maximize your ability to …
Once your divorce is finalized, it is time for you to start over—in more ways than one. Financially, you are on your own for what is likely the first time in years, which means you need to revisit the financial planning strategies you use and reassess your financial picture.
Below are a few tips for post-divorce financial planning that will help set you up for a stable future:
Conduct a thorough review
Take a close look at all your financial information, including income and expenses. Pay close attention to where your money is going each month and where you can afford to scale back. You should also review your assets, your tax situation, your credit and bank statements, your credit score and the state of any loans and other debts you currently have.
If you have children, make sure you can are also planning ahead for their ever-changing needs such as driving, school expenses, braces, etc. Is the other parent obligated to help with these expenses, or will they be solely your responsibility?
Think about the future of your career
If you have been a stay-at-home parent, you will need to get back into the workforce, which could be a daunting task if you have been home for a while or if you need additional education or training to find gainful employment.
How much training will you need? Will you need a degree for the job you’re seeking? What type of costs are associated with tuition and books? All these questions will influence your financial planning.
1. Misunderstanding the type of plan being divided When drafting a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) or Domestic Relations Order (DRO), there isn’t a one-size-fits-all …
How to Handle Your Estate Planning After Divorce
If you created an estate plan while you were married, but have since gotten divorced, you will need to make some upgrades to ensure your plan reflects your current life circumstances. You do not necessarily have to completely start from scratch, but it is important to take a close look at each element of your estate plan and figure out if anything needs to change.
Below are some tips for how to handle estate planning after a divorce:
Review your beneficiary designations
Some assets allow you to name a beneficiary, such as life insurance policies, employer retirement plans, annuities, HSAs, IRAs, bank accounts and investment accounts. Most people simply name their spouse as their primary beneficiary and someone else as the alternate beneficiary.
Unless you are required by your Judgment or want to keep your former spouse as a beneficiary, make sure you review all of your beneficiary designations and remove your former spouse as your primary beneficiary so he or she does not inherit money or assets that you want to go to someone else. You can name anyone you want as your beneficiary, including minor children, but they will not be able to fully inherit until they come of age.
Wills and trusts
If you do not update your wills or trusts, your former spouse could possibly inherit your assets and pass them down through his or her family instead of yours. Take some time to carefully review your wills and trusts with a competent attorney to ensure your estate will be handled in the way you want. Keep in mind that you are not limited to naming only your children; you can also name friends, extended family members, and even charitable organizations.
If you have minor children, you must name a guardian in your will who would take care of your kids in the event of your death. This will automatically be the other parent if he or she is still alive but, in case that person has passed away or had parental rights revoked, you should name a backup guardian who you believe would handle the duties of the position well and bring your children up in a way you believe to be consistent with your parenting style.
Financial powers of attorney
If your former spouse had financial power of attorney, make sure you revoke that power so he or she is not able to legally handle certain financial transactions on your behalf.
Advance directives like healthcare power of attorney and living wills are medical documents that allow a person to make healthcare decisions on your behalf if you are unable to make them for yourself. Most of the time, people give this power to their spouse. But if you are divorced, you may not want your former spouse to make life-and-death decisions. Consider giving this power to a trusted adult child, close friend or parent instead.
For more tips and considerations regarding estate planning after divorce, meet with an experienced Fresno and San Diego attorney at The Law Office of Rebecca Medina.
Experts report that 50% of all children in the United States will witness the divorce of their parents. The New York Times reports that even …
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