Facing divorce is a challenge for any couple; however, there are several things you can do to protect yourself and your children both financially and legally during this time. Here's what you need to know.
Divorce is rarely a straightforward process. Anytime a couple chooses to separate, there will be a lot of paperwork and legal tasks that need to be completed. This can be time consuming and frustrating; however, it's important that you stay on top of things when you and your partner separate. Not only will you need to decide where your children will live, who will get the house, and how you'll divide your assets, but you'll also need to take the legal steps necessary to protect yourself financially in the future. Here are a few things you need to do as soon as you and your partner choose to divorce.
Update Your Will
If you created a will before or during your marriage, it's important that you update this promptly. Estate planning is incredibly important for any adult and ensures that your loved ones know what your wishes regarding end-of-life care, funeral arrangements, and the distribution of assets. Your will does not automatically update simply because your marital status changes. If you have named your spouse as a beneficiary in your will, they will still be the person who benefits if you pass away. In order to change this, you need to physically create a new will. Fortunately, this is something your attorney can easily help you with.
Open a New Bank Account
It's important to open up a new bank account in your own name after you and your partner separate. Talk with your attorney about the right time to do this, as you don't want to mistakenly give the impression that you are somehow trying to hide funds from your partner before the two of you divide your assets. Opening a new bank account ensures that you have access to your financial assets at all times and that you are able to receive payments, pay bills, and move forward with your life easily. Sometimes partners separate and fail to change their banking information. Understand that if you have a joint account and your spouse withdraws funds, there will be no legal ramifications since their name is on the account.
Consider Your Life Insurance
One of the most important things you need to do is talk with your life insurance company. If your spouse is named as your beneficiary, you'll need to contact your insurance agency to name a new beneficiary. If you and your spouse are separating on good terms and you share children, you might decide to leave your former spouse as the listed beneficiary. This is your decision; however, keep in mind that it's not uncommon to change the person who will benefit from your life insurance policy after a divorce occurs.
No matter what the circumstances surrounding your separation might be, understand that divorce can be a complicated and drawn-out process. Make sure you speak with your attorney promptly about how you can make the best legal and financial decisions moving forward.