Post Divorce

Maintaining your family

Your final decree is just the beginning of your new life—a life that may be ever-changing. While you make your best effort to address what could happen after the divorce, sometimes life happens. Whether you need a modification to a parenting plan, guidance to adjust spousal maintenance, or another issue, our team of experienced attorneys can help you navigate your path forward.

 

PARENTING IN SEPARATE HOMES

Co-parenting & Child Support

 

Keeping the wellbeing of your children at the center of your decisions now that you are parenting in separate homes can be challenging. We have a wealth of resources to help moms and dads in their parenting journeys.

 

Life is unpredictable, and you may find the ordered or agreed-to support or custody no longer meets your child’s needs. Or maybe there was a substantial change in one parent’s circumstances which warrants a review, such as the need to relocate.

 

As with most things, you and your ex can agree on your own about modifications, but you will most likely want an attorney to review your documents and make sure they are correctly filed with the court. You may also be considering going to court to seek a judge’s ruling to modify your agreement, in which case it would be unwise to move forward without a knowledgeable attorney supporting you.

 

Our dedicated family law attorneys understand the complexities and nuances of child support and custody issues. Let us help you navigate a path forward to keep your family’s long-term success their sole focus.

A dad and son sitting on a dock

MAINTAINING AN EQUITABLE LIFESTYLE

Spousal Maintenance


Alimony, spousal support, and spousal maintenance all have the same meaning. These terms represent the support one party receives after the divorce to maintain an equitable lifestyle. Adjustments can be made to spousal support after a divorce if they were not non-modifiable and there is a substantial change in circumstances that could not be addressed in the divorce settlement. 


If you are exploring a request to adjust spousal maintenance as the payor or recipient, you will want to speak with one of our skilled family law attorneys.

MAINTAINING AN EQUITABLE LIFESTYLE

Spousal Maintenance


Alimony, spousal support, and spousal maintenance all have the same meaning. These terms represent the support one party receives after the divorce to maintain an equitable lifestyle. Adjustments can be made to spousal support after a divorce if they were not non-modifiable and there is a substantial change in circumstances that could not be addressed in the divorce settlement. 


If you are exploring a request to adjust spousal maintenance as the payor or recipient, you will want to speak with one of our skilled family law attorneys.

ENFORCING YOUR SETTLEMENT

Following a Court Order

 

Unfortunately, sometimes you need to go back to court to enforce a court order. If your ex is not following the order, we are happy to help discuss your options about how best to move forward to ensure the order is followed properly. Sometimes this is as simple as sending a letter, and sometimes it requires a return to court for an enforcement or contempt motion. We are happy to discuss which option is best for your situation.

OTHER ISSUES THAT MAY NEED ATTENTION

Other Post-Divorce Issues to Consider

 

Changing Your Surname (Last Name)

If you opt to change your surname or last name, you should start the process with the Social Security Administration. Once you have completed that step, you may want to invest in a name-changing service to help you navigate all your credit cards, bank accounts, passport, insurances companies, etc.

 

Insurance Policies

Determine what policies you need for automobile, homeowners, life, and health insurance. If you were previously on your partner’s health insurance, you might qualify for COBRA. This would require that you pay the entire premium for your coverage, or you may be able to elect to enroll in a health insurance plan through your company as divorce is a qualifying event. 


Investment and Retirement Accounts

If you have not already, it is time to review your designated beneficiaries. A designated beneficiary will trump any will or estate plan you may have in place, so it is critically important to ensure you have the right person or people listed. It may also be time to find your own financial and tax advisors and create a comprehensive estate plan.  

 

For each 401(k) or pension account, you will need a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) outlining the dollar amount or percentage each party has been awarded in your divorce. You may want to talk to financial and tax advisors before taking any distributions.


Your Home

If you have a mortgage or own a home outright with your ex, you will want to move quickly to execute the decisions in your divorce settlement. If you have both agreed to sell, you will need to ready the property and hire an agent. If one of you keeps the house, you will need to transfer the title generally via a quitclaim deed through the county recorder’s office. If there is a mortgage on the property, the person retaining the home will need to refinance the debt in their name alone.

  

Bank Accounts

If you had shared bank accounts, you want to ensure they are entirely closed and the assets divided per your divorce decree. You will also want to create new accounts in your name alone.


Credit Accounts

Credit cards can be tricky. You and your ex will close all joint cards and transfer any outstanding debt from those cards to new accounts for whichever of you is responsible for the debt per your divorce decree. Your divorce is not on your credit report; creditors do not care that you got a divorce and have a settlement agreement that shows your ex is responsible for the debt from your joint account. You need to separate the debts, which means opening credit accounts in your name only.

 

You should also remove your ex as an authorized user of any cards you may have and ask them to remove you from theirs. If they refuse, you may need to contact the institution or file a report with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

 

Life after divorce can be a time of discovery and growth. But there are some practical matters you should take care of as well as some that might need revisiting, like spousal support or residential time.

 

Contact our Washington-based team if you need help post-divorce with any family law or estate planning issues. Helping your family thrive is our passion.

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