The road toward getting your California divorce judgment probably felt long and rough at times. You worked hard to protect your family and financial interests during the divorce, and now you need to do the same after the divorce. While not quite “deadly sins,” it’s still essential that you avoid these post-divorce mistakes before any damage is done. You may want to ask yourself, are you guilty of any of the following?
Breaking a court order
- Things change after a divorce, and there may be a genuine need to change your divorce order (such as spousal support or child visitation orders). But if things change, don’t violate the court’s order because you can face serious consequences.
- You may be able to change your court order, but don’t delay. We can prepare your requested modification to improve the likelihood of getting court approval on your proposed changes.
Forgetting to close all joint accounts
- Track down and close all bank accounts, credit cards, and other lines of credit that you hold together with your ex-spouse. Get a copy of your credit report to help you identify many of these accounts.
- Don’t forget to change your pin numbers, online usernames, and passwords.
Not updating your will, living trust, and beneficiary designations
- Even though under current California law a divorce cancels gifts made to your ex-spouse, you still must update your will because this cancellation creates unanswered questions: If the gifts to your ex are cancelled, then who should your money and property go to instead? Keep control over the inheritance by making your wishes clear in your updated will and trust.Not only that, but if you move to another state, its laws may not automatically cancel the gifts to your ex-spouse.
- If your ex is named as beneficiary to your 401k, IRA, pension, life insurance, and similar plans or accounts, then change your beneficiary designations with the companies holding these accounts right away.
Forgetting to cancel and update your financial and health care powers of attorney
- Create a new power of attorney if you had previously chosen your now ex-spouse to manage your finances and contracts.
- Do the same for your advance health care directive (a document that lets you name someone to make your health care decisions if you become ill or incapacitated).
Overlooking your own financial stability
- Just as you need to close old joint accounts, you also need to get a new credit card and other accounts that are in your name.
- In “Financial Freedom After Divorce,” San Diego certified financial planner and blogger Jaclyn Weitzberg also stresses the importance of creating a budget so you don’t spend too much now that your household’s income has changed. She also recommends that you make sure your health and life insurance policies meet your current needs.
- When planning your finances, think about how much the spousal support will be and which assets you’re keeping under the divorce judgment. This will help you get a better picture of your finances so you can create a plan for paying debts and managing your savings and any investments.
Arguing with your ex-spouse in front of your kids
- Don’t conflict your children by criticizing their other parent or arguing with your ex-spouse in front of them. Also, don’t talk about child support or alimony (spousal support). If you’re the paying parent, don’t have your kids deliver the support check.
- Always be respectful, and share information about your kids’ wellbeing and schooling with the other parent. You may be able to prevent arguments by talking about which parenting decisions you both need to make together, and which decisions can be handled by one of you.
Demanding too much of yourself
- Divorce is not an overnight transition. Give yourself time to adjust to your new life, and reflect on what’s happened and your emotions. Also think about joining a divorce support group, so you can hear from others who have gone through similar changes in their lives.
If you haven’t started your divorce yet, remember that there’s a lot we can do to get you the best possible divorce settlement and make the transition easier. Whether you need skilled legal help before or after your divorce, call Minella Law Group’s family law attorneys at (619) 289-7948.