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Columbia Family Law Blog

How should you prepare your finances for divorce?

Once you and your spouse decide to divorce, you should understand the impact it will have on your future. Preparing your finances for divorce should be one of your priorities after making the decision to split from your spouse.

Here are five basic steps that will put you in a better position as you prepare your finances for divorce:

  • Gather all your financial records. This includes, but is not limited, to bank and retirement account statements, pay stubs and life insurance policies. If it's related to your finances, you will need it.
  • Take inventory of your assets and debts. It can be time-consuming to do this, but it will give you peace of mind. Property division can be a sticking point for many divorcing couples, so you need to thoroughly understand what your assets and debts are in order to negotiate the best settlement that you can.
  • Open individual accounts. This is a big step toward a better life in the near future. Close your join accounts and opt for those in your name only. For starters, open checking and savings accounts and apply for a credit card.
  • Understand your budget. Since your financial situation is changing, your budget may need adjusting as well. For example, as a one-income family, you may not be able to keep up with your current level of spending. Adjusting your budget now can help you avoid future trouble.
  • Get help. There are many sources of assistance to which you can turn, such as a tax professional and financial advisor. Furthermore, don't hesitate to discuss your situation with trusted friends and family members, as they may be able to provide insight you're overlooking.

Don’t let child custody throw your summer vacation off track

Depending on your custody arrangement, you may have big plans to spend a summer vacation with your child. While that can be a fun and exciting opportunity, you need to keep your child custody agreement in mind.

You can't unilaterally make a decision to take your child on vacation. Instead, you must follow the details of your parenting and child custody agreements while also communicating your intentions to the other parent.

Divorce mediation: Know what to expect up front

Once you decide to divorce and realize that you and your spouse are on the same page, it's time to turn your attention to your rights and the process of making your split legal.

There is always a chance that your case could end up in court, but you don't have to go down this path. With a dedication to mediation, you may be able to work through all your differences without the traditional court process guiding you.

Did you update your estate plan to reflect your divorce?

If you are in the process of getting a divorce or have recently finalized your divorce, it's probably time to review your estate plan and last will. After all, you likely drafted your will when you intended to leave everything to your spouse. All of your decisions from assigning personal possessions to naming a guardian for your children likely reflect your position as a spouse. Reviewing your last will and estate plan can help you ensure a legacy that reflects your life.

There are likely several documents within your estate plan that you will need to update. You should make an attempt to review and update them every few years, anyway, but a divorce is one of several life events that warrants taking action in regard to your estate plan.

Life changes may justify modifying child support

As a supporting parent, you know that you want to give your child the best life that you can using the resources you have available. However, the realities of daily life make that impossible, or, at least, very difficult to manage.

At times, changes in your circumstances may drastically change the resources that you have available, and if your support obligations weigh too heavily on you, you cannot provide for your own basic needs or meet your non-negotiable financial obligations. While this is never a preferable circumstance to find yourself living through, the courts do provide legal means to modify your child support obligations, if you meet certain requirements.

Long distance parenting plans: Rules for auto transportation

It's not uncommon for two parents to live in different states. However, just because these situations are common does not mean it's easy to organize your shared parenting arrangements.

Imagine you live in a neighboring state approximately eight hours away by car, and you have visitation rights. You and your ex will need to make an agreement not only about when you will get to spend time with your children but about how you will share the automobile transportation responsibilities of getting your children from one parent to the other.

Create a detailed, yet flexible, child custody plan

When you are dealing with child custody issues, you have to make a lot of decisions. At first, it might seem overwhelming to have to address everything this entails. The good news is that if you take steps now to make these decisions, there will be less stress in the in the heat of the moment later.

Many people don't realize that the best child custody plan is one that is very detailed. Even though you want to include everything you can, you also have to find the balance between a detailed order and one with enough flexibility to allow you to address the child's needs every step of the way.

Any of these estate planning mistakes can cause trouble

Are you in the process of creating your first estate plan, or making changes to one that you already have in place? Do you have concerns about making all the right decisions? Do you have reason to believe that you need to fix a mistake you have already made?

Estate planning is easier said than done, since there are so many details you need to take into consideration. If you overlook anything, even something that doesn't appear to be a big deal, it could cause you and/or your family trouble in the future.

How to ease your child into the divorce process

Regardless of the age of your children, if you decide to divorce you'll need to bring this to light at some point. The only time this doesn't come into play is if any of your children are too young to understand what is going on.

There are many steps you can take to ease your children into the divorce process, ensuring that they know exactly what is going on now and what will happen in the future.