The decision to end a marriage can be traumatic, chaotic, and filled with emotion. Ask anyone who has experienced a divorce, and they will tell you that the process is anything but easy. Getting divorced can seem like a constant veil of fog. You might find yourself having a hard time remembering much of anything, even something as simple as what you had for dinner last night. To help you navigate through the fog, we’ve compiled the common 9 things people forget when getting divorced.
1. Consider Updating Your Will
In Washington state, all provisions of your will involving your spouse are automatically revoked after your divorce is finalized. However, one or more reasons might exist for you to remove your spouse (to the extent that the law allows) and update your beneficiary designations. You cannot disinherit your spouse completely. Often, clients will leave their spouse only what he/she is entitled to receive under the law. You should not do any of this on your own but first should seek our advice.
2. Change Your Power of Attorney (POA)
When you create a new power of attorney naming a new agent, it can include language that its existence revokes any POAs that you made before. You can do this while you’re happily married, unhappily married, after you’ve separated, or while your divorce is pending.
3. Modify Your Trust
In Washington, your trust must have terms that expressly provide that the trust is revocable in order to revoke or amend it. If your trust has these terms, you can decide what you do/don’t want to leave your spouse and amend it as necessary. Again, you should not do any of this on your own but first should seek our advice.
4. Pull Your Credit Report
Don’t be blindsided years later by credit cards that were put in your name by your spouse. It is advisable to pull this report at the beginning and ending stages of your divorce.
5. Take Inventory of Your Accounts
Create a list and make copies/take screenshots of all your personal and joint accounts. This list should include all bank, credit union, credit card, savings, brokerage, and loan accounts. Do not transfer funds, or open or close accounts, until speaking with us.
6. Keep it Confidential
What was once shared, no longer is. It’s important to keep private accounts and mail confidential during this period. Create a new email account, change passwords on all social media accounts, and consider opening a P.O. box to have all your mail re-directed to you as soon as you decide you’re getting divorced.
7. Use Current Medical Insurance
Make appointments for yourself and children. If children are involved, you should consider seeking a family therapist under the current coverage.
8. Secure Personal Items
Set aside your irreplaceable items and put them in a safe place that is outside your house. Do not confuse this with taking your spouse’s keepsakes.
9. Protect Yourself
The law is complex and can easily become confusing due to lack of knowledge of how to navigate the legal system. The Levey Law Group is here to help you navigate the legal system and to give you peace of mind throughout your divorce. And, take a deep breath and start checking items off your list, one by one.
Given the level of financial, practical, and emotional issues that accompany a divorce, it’s not surprising that so many people make critical mistakes during the process. While the divorce is ongoing, your spouse has certain rights, as do you. It’s crucial to make sure you don’t forget to complete the above items to make sure you meet your legal obligations and exercise as much control over your assets as possible.
“It always gets worse before it can get better. But it will get better. Like everything else, and like our past struggles, at some point we win, but before that win, there’s always that loss that spurs us on.”
— Dolores Huerta
The Levey Law Group understands that getting divorced requires a committed and compassionate approach. We can help you through the complex and often emotional family matters.
Contact us today to schedule your consultation.