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It’s pretty much a given that when you choose to get married, you certainly don’t expect you will ever get divorced. But sadly, things in life do change. From drifting apart to constant arguing and more serious issues such as abuse and abandonment, things do go wrong. And with statistics at an all-time high, it’s essential to know not only how to proceed with a divorce but what to do in the aftermath too.
You can file for divorce on no-fault or fault grounds. It is essential to hire a reputable divorce attorney in order to get through this difficult time. Not only will you be feeling the strain emotionally, but financially, there is a lot of paperwork to sort out too. But even when the divorce has been finalised, there a few more legal issues you will want to tie up that reflect your newly single status.
If you and your ex-partner have children, it is more than likely that you will have both made a will. And even if no children are involved, you may also have already made a will. If this is the case, now is the time to review this document. If you are only separated, and you do not have a will, your spouse will automatically inherit from you. If you are divorced, changes in your will may have already been made but if there are issues regarding your estate you will still need to review your documents. You are likely to want to change your will so that your children inherit, rather than your ex-spouse. You can have your assets held in a trust until your children are old enough to receive them. It may be that your ex was the executor of your estate in your old will, but you are likely to want to change that too.
You will also want to update your life insurance policy. Proceeds from life insurance will go to the named beneficiary, not the person(s) named in your will or estate documents. This is the time to re-designate the beneficiaries. Most ex-partners will name their children now instead of their ex. In some states this automatically happens, but not al. So take caution and check. If you wish, you can also sign an adult custodian to look after the money until your children reach a certain age. It’s crucial to keep this policy up to date as nothing can be changed after death.
In 2009 roughly one in four divorces occurred in couples over the age of 50. Therefore it’s essential you pay attention to your retirement accounts and pension plans after a divorce. Retirement and pension plans are likely to pay a big part in your net worth and therefore these must be addressed in the divorce settlement. Retirement funds that were made during the time you were wedded are most often seen as marital property unless a spouse enters the marriage with money already in the 401K. If you negotiate dividing the pension or 401K plan, you will need a QDRO order so it can be instructed how to divide these assets. This will allow funds going into the account to be paid separately. A divorce settlement does not legally give you rights to a wife’s portion of a husband’s retirement account. Therefore you need the QDRO to settle these matters fairly.