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Divorce Mistakes

By March 4, 2024March 7th, 2024Divorce

Question: What mistakes do people make in divorce?

Answer: Most couples forget to protect the assets they received in the divorce…

Divorce is difficult and draining. Once you make it through it, there are additional tasks you should complete to protect yourself. Unfortunately, most folks are so emotionally and financially drained from the divorce that they forget to complete the additional tasks. However, not completing these additional tasks is a HUGE mistake.

Did you remove your former spouse from your credit cards?

If your former spouse was an authorized user on your credit cards, then they can still charge onto your credit card if you forgot to remove them as an authorized user.

Did you change your user names and passwords to your accounts?

You know this one. If your former spouse knows your user name or password, they can get into your accounts.

Did you remove your former spouse as your emergency contact?

Even though my former client has informed her medical providers on multiple occasions that she is divorced and does not want her ex-husband as her emergency contact, and even though the providers “update” the information, her ex-husband is still her emergency contact in their systems whenever she goes into the hospital. It’s happened three times to her. Luckily, I was visiting her at the hospital when it happened again. I handled it for her with the hospital’s administration via attorney letterhead. It won’t be happening again.

Did you make a new Health Care Directive?

A Health Care Directive tells your doctors and your loved ones what you want to happen when a medical crisis hits. No one plans to be in a life threatening auto accident. You also (likely) no longer have a spouse who knows what you want to happen. Let’s remedy this situation. You can easily handle this on your own. It will take you 15 minutes. Just click on this link and you can do that one on your own.

Did you remove your former spouse as your beneficiary for your retirement, your financial accounts, or your life insurance?

If you didn’t remove your former spouse as a beneficiary to your bank accounts, your retirement accounts, or your life insurance policy, then if you die, your former spouse (not your kids, not your parents, and not your siblings) may inherit those assets.

You can also do this on your own. Put it onto your March to-do list. Make this a priority.

Did you confirm that your ex-spouse refinanced the mortgage or the car loan into his/her name?

If your divorce required that your former spouse refinanced loans attached to assets awarded to your former spouse (i.e. the mortgage or the car loan), then you need to make sure that it happened. Why? Because if your name is still on that loan, and if your former spouse fails to pay the loan, I promise you they are coming after you. Then, your credit score will tank, and when that happens your situation just got much.

Did you create a new will or trust to handle your affairs in case of your untimely death?

Many of my clients want their ex-spouse to be a part of their estate plan. But… if you failed to update your estate plan, Oregon’s laws nullify a will created prior to the divorce. So, if you want your ex-spouse to get the house or act as your administrator, you need to execute a NEW will, post-divorce in order for Oregon to honor your requests. I recommend Jinoo Hwang at Northwest Legal for your estate planning needs. 

Do you have a premarital agreement in place or marriage number 2?

You’ve already been married and divorced. So, you know that no one who is getting married plans to get a divorce. And yet…

More people in America get divorced than stay married.

Here’s the truth: divorce happens when you least expect it. Most couples who end-up getting a divorce in my office say, “I never saw this coming.”

So, as you read this, if you are thinking, “I am so much smarter this time. I am picking a MUCH better partner. They’d never ask me for a divorce or have an affair on me.” Remember, most everyone who has been divorced thought that, too.

Click here to read Premarital Agreements for a Second Marriage.

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