Life goes on after divorce. A “new normal” evolves. Custody arrangements, alimony payments, child support, and life insurance obligations are just some examples of the new normal. Legal obligations resulting from divorce can impact one’s relationships, lifestyle, and finances for years to come. Before saying “I Do” with a new spouse, should there be a mutual understanding of each other’s divorce obligations, commitments, and priorities? Here are some sensitive topics and questions to consider when moving on after divorce.
Topics to Consider When Moving On After Divorce
1. Custody Arrangements
If both parties have children from prior relationships, will the parenting time with both sets of kids overlap? If so, does everybody get along well? Where would the marital home be located? How many bedrooms would be needed to accommodate all of the children comfortably? What would vacations or holidays look like? Would or should each parent have designated alone time with their own kids and without the other party? Does either party anticipate litigation or mediation in the future with a former spouse for custody issues?
2. Alimony and Child Support Obligations
Will alimony or child support payments be modified or terminated upon remarriage? Does a party have an obligation to pay a portion of college expenses, private school, extracurricular activities, medical expenses, or other expenses for children? What are the chances of having to revisit and possibly litigate or mediate alimony, child support payments, or other expenses pertaining to the children?
3. Retirement Accounts
If a party’s former spouse dies, would any retirement benefits that party is entitled to receive from the former spouse terminate? If a party remarries, would any retirement benefits that party is entitled to receive from the former spouse terminate? Would a new spouse be prevented or restricted from receiving a party’s survivor benefits or retirement funds upon the party’s death?
4. Life Insurance
Does a party have an obligation to designate a specific amount of life insurance to a former spouse and/or children as beneficiary? If so, would additional life insurance be available for the benefit of a new spouse? If a party has a life insurance obligation but either carries no life insurance or not enough life insurance, upon the party’s death can the party’s estate be sued by the former spouse and/or children? If so, how would this impact the new spouse?
5. Prenuptial Agreement
Do one or both parties want a prenuptial agreement to protect business interests, children’s inheritance, or other items?
6. Trusts and Estate documents
Do divorce obligations require the creation of and/or contribution to trusts or other accounts? Are there obligations to include specific provisions in a Last Will and Testament or other estate planning documents?
Does a party have divorce obligations to pay marital debt?
Does a party have marital assets that are still held jointly with the party and former spouse? If so, what are the divorce terms for eventually separating or selling the asset?
These are just some ideas of questions to consider for discussion when moving on after divorce. Divorce situations and situations pertaining to marriage after divorce can sometimes be more complicated than they appear. Love sometimes has a way of masking the complications. Discussing and understanding divorce obligations, commitments, and priorities may help to unmask the complications.