Richard E. Fowlks, Attorney at Law

Portland Family Law And Estate Planning Blog

Review your estate plan when your marriage ends

People who are going through a divorce are often so focused on getting things with the split finalized that they forget to plan for the future. You know that you will have to go through property division and child custody matters, so they quickly become the priority.

You also need to think about what needs to happen with your estate plan. You likely have it set up for what it should have been during the marriage. This is going to have to change now because if it doesn't, there is a good chance that everything will go to your ex. Unless you want this to happen to help your children, you need to review things and make appropriate changes.

Thinking ahead can help you avoid divorce-related trouble

When you go through divorce, you know that there is a lot on the line. Your choice to end your marriage will impact your financial future, your long-term interests and your post-divorce lifestyle. It's in your interests to intentionally pursue fair terms to your property division order.

This can be stressful and complicated, especially if there is contention between you and your spouse. Many couples are able to avoid this process altogether by thinking ahead before they even walk down the aisle. Drafting a prenuptial agreement before you marry can ensure that you don't have to deal with a contentious legal battle over your marital property. Having this type of contract is not assuming that your marriage will fail. It is simply having a plan in place in case of a contingency.

Know where you stand financially during a divorce

One of the most significant changes you go through when you divorce is figuring out finances. You might be going from a household with two incomes to a home with one. Sitting down to create a budget can help you immensely during this time. Not only does this show you where you stand, it also gives you the chance to make changes that benefit your single life.

Your budget needs to be accurate if it is going to help you. It might be necessary to track expenses for a while, so you know exactly where your money is going. Ideally, you will do this before you go into a mediation session to divide marital property.

Childless divorces can be particularly challenging

There isn't such thing as an easy divorce, but people who don't have children might have it a tad easier than those who do. The childless individuals won't have to worry about custody arrangements. While the legal aspects of the split might be less involved, there are other things that these couples have to worry about.

Parents who divorce often turn their attention to the children. When there aren't kids to focus on, your attention will likely turn inward. You might begin to wonder what you can do to avoid making the same relationship errors in the future. This can take a toll on your mental health because you might start to focus on everything you feel you did wrong.

Underlying sources of anger should be addressed when divorcing

There are many things that can happen when adults divorce. One of the things that can make a challenging situation even more difficult is when there are underlying sources of anger and contention. This might be the case if a spouse was having an affair or if monetary issues or abuse led to the split.

In order to take the divorce's tone down a bit, you have to be willing to address the sources of anger. This doesn't mean that you have to work with your ex on this. Instead, you need to find ways to cope with the situation yourself. You might need to see a therapist to help you find coping methods. Remember that you have to put your own mental health first.

Student loans can be an area of contention in some divorces

When you think about the property division process in divorce, you might associate it with splitting up the assets. This is a big part of it, but you also have to address what is going to happen to the debts. For some, student loans are one of the biggest things that they will have to divide.

There isn't a single answer that's always correct regarding student loans. Many variables can impact what happens to student loans during the division of property.

Stacking the deck for successful co-parenting

These days, courts consider the best interests of the child to involve joint custody. The belief is that the more time that each parent gets to spend with the children, the better off they will be as they make the transition from one household to two and beyond.

This shift in philosophy makes a parenting plan one of the most important child custody documents you need. In order to make sure it accomplishes all of the goals you have in mind for your family and meets with the court's approval, you may want to consider what makes a co-parenting relationship effective.

Keep proof that you paid your child support

Paying child support isn't something that most people look forward to doing. If you are ordered to pay, remember that this is a way that you can show your children that you support them even if you can't be there in person on a daily basis. Even if you have a positive attitude about this, you should still ensure that you are taking steps to protect yourself as you pay.

If you are paying via automatic garnishments from a paycheck, you won't have to worry about some of these because you will have the check stubs to show that it was taken out. This is your receipt to show that you are paying it. Once it is taken out of your check, it goes into a clearinghouse where it will be disbursed to your ex.

Tips for sharing news of your divorce with others

The decision to legally end a marriage isn't one that anyone takes lightly. There are usually a lot of things that come together when a couple decides to split. Once you make the decision, you have another difficult task. You have to tell others that you are divorcing.

It is usually a good idea to share the news with those closest to you first. You might want to tell your family members so that they don't hear it from anyone else. Ask them to be there to support you and your children during this big life change. The same thing is true for your very close friends.

Prepare for the emotional journey of divorce

You made the decision to file for divorce, but now you don't know what to do. This is a new experience for you, and it can be challenging. There are some things that you may not realize will happen as you work through the divorce process. Trying to prepare for those surprises can help you get through things with as little stress as possible.

One of the most shocking things for people filing for divorce to experience is the wide range of emotions. You might think that because you are the one who filed tha you will be overjoyed about the legal end of the marriage. But this isn't usually the case. Almost everyone who goes through a divorce endures a period of mourning. It might not necessarily be because of the end of the marriage. You might be mourning the time that you spent and the future experiences you will miss with that person.

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Richard E. Fowlks, Attorney at Law
1607 N.E. 41st Avenue
Portland, OR 97232

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