On this blog, we regularly discuss the steps involved in preparing for divorce. We talk about how getting divorced is a process, and how spouses who plan ahead and make smart decisions will often be able to positively impact the terms of their final divorce decrees.
But, in many ways, preparing for life after divorce is just as important as preparing for the divorce itself. Once your divorce is over, your marriage is over, and you will need to be able to quickly adjust to life under your new personal and financial circumstances. With this in mind, here are five tips spouses in California can follow to begin preparing for life after divorce.
How Soon-to-Be-Former Spouses Can Prepare for Life After Divorce
1. Establish Personal Credit
If you and your spouse undertook joint debt obligations during your marriage (as is typically the case), you may find that you suddenly do not enjoy the same credit standing you did prior to your divorce. Building credit can be a slow process, and the period shortly after a divorce is often one in which former spouses find that they need access to credit (e.g., to finance the purchase of a new vehicle or residence). You can take steps to start building your personal credit while your divorce is pending, but you also need to be careful to avoid expenditures that could have negative repercussions in your divorce.
2. Update Your Estate Plan
If you die tomorrow, will your spouse get everything? Many couples have “reciprocal” estate plans that essentially provide for the surviving spouse to receive title to all of the other spouse’s assets in the event of an untimely death. To avoid leaving your entire estate to your former (or, if it is not too late, soon-to-be-former) spouse, you should be sure to update your estate plan in conjunction with your divorce.
3. Learn How to Maintain Emotional Stability
Divorces are emotionally-challenging ordeals even for the most stalwart among us, and the sudden independence of life after divorce can leave many people feeling overwhelmed. Divorces can levy emotional burdens on divorcing couples’ children as well, and parents and children alike can struggle to cope effectively in the aftermath of a divorce. There are a variety of pre- and post-divorce counseling options available, and it is important for individuals who believe they may struggle emotionally after a divorce to seek help before their emotional state takes control of their life.
4. Schedule Work and Personal Time
If you have children, it will be important to plan your work and personal time (both with and without your children) so that you can consistently comply with the custody and visitation provisions of your divorce decree. Child custody issues are among the leading causes of post-divorce disputes, and failing to comply with a court-ordered custody award can have potentially-serious legal consequences.
5. Know When to Seek Modifications
Finally, while the law recognizes that circumstances can change over time, it also favors the certainty that comes with enforcing original divorce decrees. While spousal support (alimony), child support, and child custody awards can be modified, seeking modification requires proof of a “material” change in circumstances. If you foresee a major change in your future (for example, if you decide to pursue a new career opportunity and/or move out of state), you will need to be proactive about addressing this from a legal perspective so that you do end up in violation of the terms of your divorce.
Comprehensive and Compassionate Representation for Divorcing Spouses in North County, CA
With offices in North County, the Law Office of Renkin & Associates provides experienced legal representation for divorcing spouses throughout the San Diego area. If you are contemplating divorce and would like to speak with an attorney, call us at (888) 837-3564 or contact us online to schedule an initial consultation today.