7 Things People Forget before Filing for Divorce
- Insurance coverage must go on
- Debts get divided, too
- You need lots of documentation
- Your kids may be struggling
- Update your will
- Consider mediation
- Divorce laws vary by state
Divorce is a significant life change that can have long-lasting emotional and financial consequences. As such, it's crucial to approach this life-changing event thoughtfully and with ample preparation.
Too often, people rush into the divorce process without considering all aspects, leading to unforeseen complications and difficulties. To help keep you on track, here are X things to keep in mind as you prepare for divorce.
Insurance coverage must go on
If you're currently covered under your spouse's policy, know that you may lose this coverage upon divorce. Research alternative options, such as obtaining coverage through your employer or purchasing an individual policy.
Review any existing life insurance policies you have. If appropriate, consider updating your beneficiaries. You may also need to obtain new policies to ensure adequate coverage for both parties.
You probably shared an auto insurance policy in marriage, but you will need separate auto insurance policies after your divorce. Contact your insurance company to discuss proper transfer procedures and potential fees involved.
You’ll split your debts, too
So much of the focus in divorce is on asset division. But don’t forget: You will be splitting your debts, too. Dividing marital debt fairly and equitably is crucial to avoid future disputes. Here's how to approach this task:
- Obtain a copy of your credit report to identify all outstanding debts.
- Determine which debts are considered marital (incurred during the marriage) and which are separate (incurred before the marriage or after the separation).
- Work with your spouse or a mediator to negotiate a fair division of debts. Consider factors such as income, earning potential, and each party's ability to repay.
- Document any agreed-upon debt division in writing to avoid future confusion or disputes.
You’ll need lots of documentation
Gathering and organizing essential divorce-related documents is vital for a smooth process. Here are some types of documentation you'll need.
Asset and liability statements
Compile a comprehensive list of all marital assets (property, bank accounts, investments, etc.) and liabilities (debts, loans, etc.).
Gather pay stubs, W-2s, and other income-related documents for both you and your spouse.
Obtain copies of your joint tax returns for at least the past three years.
A divorce coach provides additional personalized support as you move through the divorce process. Learn more about divorce coach services here.
Your children may be struggling
Divorce can be particularly challenging for children. To minimize the impact on their lives, consider the following:
- Develop a co-parenting plan that outlines custody arrangements, visitation schedules, and decision-making responsibilities.
- Prioritize open communication with your children, addressing their concerns and providing reassurance.
- Consider seeking professional support for your children, such as therapy or counseling, to help them cope with the changes.
You might want to update your will
Updating your will and estate plan is crucial following a divorce. Here's how to approach this process:
- Review your current will and estate plan to identify any necessary changes.
- Consult with an estate planning attorney to make sure you understand the legal implications of your decisions.
- Update beneficiary designations for life insurance policies, retirement accounts, and other assets.
- Create or update a power of attorney and healthcare proxy to reflect your new circumstances.
Mediation is often effective
Mediation is an alternative dispute resolution method that involves working with a neutral third-party mediator to resolve disagreements amicably. In many cases, at least one mediation session is required as part of the divorce process.
Here's why mediation can be beneficial:
- Cost-effective: Mediation is generally less expensive than litigation, making it an appealing option for couples looking to minimize costs.
- Time-efficient: Resolving disputes through mediation can be quicker than going to court, allowing both parties to move forward with their lives sooner.
- Confidentiality: Unlike court proceedings, mediation is private and confidential, which can help protect sensitive information and maintain privacy.
- Control: Mediation allows both parties to have a say in the outcome, rather than leaving decisions up to a judge.
- Improved communication: The collaborative nature of mediation can help improve communication between parties and set the stage for a more amicable post-divorce relationship.
Hello Divorce offers special mediation plans, either as a service or an add-on. Our full mediation plan includes five hours of mediation with one of our experts who can support and guide you and your spouse to a resolution.
Each state has its own divorce laws
Although similarities in divorce laws exist across the U.S., each state has its own nuances that can make navigating the process challenging. Understanding these laws is crucial for a successful outcome in your divorce case.
Some key areas where state laws may differ include the following:
Each state has specific residency requirements that must be met before you can file for divorce.
Grounds for divorce
States may have different acceptable grounds for divorce, such as irreconcilable differences, adultery, or abandonment.
Rules regarding alimony (also known as spousal support) can vary by state, including factors considered in determining the amount and duration of payments.
Child custody and support
State laws dictate how child custody and support arrangements are determined, taking into account factors such as the child's best interests and each parent's ability to provide care.
To navigate these state-specific laws effectively, consider partnering with Hello Divorce. We're acutely familiar with state divorce rules and regulations and can help you prepare for each step of your divorce process.
To learn more about what we offer, we invite you to schedule a free 15-minute informational call.
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