How To Protect Yourself During Divorce

During divorce, many people worry about their children and their finances.  However, many people fail to prepare for their illness or death before the divorce is finalized. There are 4 questions that everyone going through a divorce should be considering, but rarely do:


  •  What happens if I die before my divorce is final?
  •  How can I protect my children?
  •  How can I protect myself?
  •  How can I make sure that my share of the property goes to the people that I want it to go to, rather than my future ex-spouse?

Most people do not realize that if they unable to make their own health care and/or financial decisions because of incapacity, their future ex-spouse will get to decide.  So executing or updating your Durable Power of Attorney documents is important. 

Many people also fail to understand that if they should die during the divorce process without properly planning for it, their future ex-spouse will inherit their community property portion of your estate because he or she is still technically your spouse until the divorce decree is final. 


Additionally, if you have a Will prepared during the marriage where you named your spouse as the beneficiary, and the divorce is not finalized, then your future ex-spouse will certainly inherit everything they are entitled to under the Will and, as in most marital Wills, if you nominated your future ex-spouse to serve as your personal representative but fail to amend the court may have no other choice to allow him or her to serve in this role and administer your estate.  One can only image how difficult it may be for your family, friends, heirs and beneficiaries to communicate with and get along with your future ex-spouse but, more importantly, having your future ex-spouse administering your assets it may make it difficult for your children or other heirs to get the property distribution that you intended.


It is worthwhile to immediately change your will, even if it is temporary.  Doing so immediately upon separation or filing for divorce will allow you to maintain control and allow you to determine who should receive your estate in the event you become ill or do not live through the divorce proceeding.

STAY UP TO DATE

Subscribe to our newsletters

 
Subscribe to one or more of our newsletters, delivering meaningful insight on topics that matter to you and your family.

FURTHER READING

Latest Blog Posts

There are various ways to plan for the handling of your remains after death, as we discussed in Part I of “How to Handle Remains in Washington State.” What option you choose will likely turn on some combination of your…

Death is a part of life. Like taxes, there's no avoiding it. Also, like taxes, you may not like thinking or talking about the subject. However, if you think about death and how to handle your remains from a planning…

Every child deserves love, stability, and consistency. Is there a child in your life that you have considered adopting, perhaps because they are the child of your spouse or a child you are fostering? Perhaps there is an adult in…

The thought of losing your home or its contents in a disaster is a scary thought. Loss of life, destruction of irreplaceable items such as home movies, photos, and heirlooms make it unconscionable. But as we know in life, sometimes…

Spoiler alert: If you’re doing everything around the house (or at work) because you’re living (working) with a bunch of incompetent fools, or so they’ve led you to believe they are, you’re being manipulated. So pervasive is this phenomenon, there’s…

If you've created an estate plan, you've already spent a good deal of time thinking about what will happen to you if you become sick, incapacitated, or die, including where you will go (literally) when you die. After all, you don't want your…

If you're 18 or older and live in Washington State, you can legally change your name to anything you want as long as you're not doing so to commit fraud. For example, if your goal is to change your name to evade…

Your estate plan should ensure your special needs child experiences the best quality of life they can, that the assets upon which they will rely will last as long as possible during their lifetime, and that their eligibility for public services will be maximized. Learn more.

Popular culture is using the moniker "America's daughter" to describe Gabby Petito because she could've been any of our daughters. Learn how to talk to your daughter about the signs of domestic abuse.

When a couple decides to divorce, and one spouse is unable to support themselves, spousal support becomes a hot-button issue. Learn how to mitigate conflict and move forward.