Estate Planning After a Divorce: Parenting Plans, Guardianships and More

As a couple with a family, hopefully, you & your spouse have at least started the process of estate planning.

If you are going through a divorce, however, these plans will probably need to change. You might even have to start over from the beginning of your estate-planning process.

You will want to readdress items that are needed; now though in reference to new parenting plans and other accommodations of the divorce.

In addition, you will need to know what is going to happen to your children should one or both of you become unable to care for them.

Here are the plans that you will need to have in place. Making these decisions in advance will help alleviate the stress that automatically comes with a divorce.

Parenting Plans After a Divorce

Custody and visitation are the most critical decisions that need to be worked out. You will need to decide whether one parent has sole custody or if it is to be shared. This includes visitation rights.

In most cases, both parents care deeply for their children and the children love both parents. Older children may even have a preference for where they want to spend the most time. Courts will consider this, especially after a child turns fourteen.

In some cases, however, one partner may not be a fit parent. Maybe they are abusing drugs or alcohol, have an untreated mental illness, or travel extensively for their career and aren’t home very often.

You will want to make sure the children are not exposed to any abuse. In cases where one parent is considered unfit, it is up to the other parent to prove this in court. 

Guardianships, Who Will Take Care of Your Child?

Guardianships can be either temporary or permanent. In the case of an illness or injury, a parent who has custody may not be able to care for the children. Typically, the courts will automatically give the guardianship to the other parent.

In cases such as those mentioned above, you will want to make sure you have provided proof of the other parent’s unfitness and named a suitable guardian who can temporarily step in until you can return to parenting. In the case of death, a permanent guardian will need to be found.

Again, the children’s other parent will be the first choice unless circumstances make that unwise. Making plans now will help prevent the children from possibly ending up in a dangerous situation or with strangers until things are sorted out.

Addressing Finances in Your Estate Plan, Post-Divorce

Child support is not the only financial consideration that needs to be taken care of after your divorce. The future holds expenses, such as for higher education, medical bills, memberships, and more. Decisions need to be made regarding who is responsible for each of these expenses.

It is also essential to decide if any financial arrangements, such as trust funds, will automatically be entrusted to guardians or if you will appoint someone solely to manage the financial well-being of your children. This can be necessary when whoever becomes physical guardian, even the child’s natural parent, is not good with money or it is felt they may not spend it appropriately.

Getting Advice on Your Estate Plan After Your Divorce

At Lilac City Law, our experienced estate law attorneys understand that parenting plans are often the most difficult ones to make during a divorce.

We are here to help you arrange the estate plans that you believe will take care of your children, not only now but also in the future.

If you are facing a divorce, and are unsure how your best-laid estate plans will be impacted, contact our office today and see how we can help ease your mind.

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