Securing a divorce after a long uphill battle is an achievement that no one should take lightly. A contested divorce can take several months or even years to resolve, and while the divorce is ongoing, many adults are left in an uncomfortable limbo. Once the divorce is finalized, moving on with your life is a vital part of establishing independence and overall well-being. Unfortunately, there are some things your divorce decree may not cover, meaning getting legally divorced is only the first step in your journey. Being aware of things your divorce decree may not account for or protect you from can help you protect yourself financially and legally after the divorce is finalized.
Couples often focus on who gets what property or assets that are held jointly. What happens to marital debt is sometimes overlooked or not properly or thoroughly discussed. When the divorce is final, this lack of foresight can lead to significant problems for both parties. Even though a divorce decree may award a certain spouse a home or vehicle, if the lender still has the ex-spouse listed as a co-applicant or co-owner, both parties may still find themselves being held responsible for paying the joint debt. Unless your decree includes a contract amendment or another legal statement nullifying the responsibility of the joint owner, creditors may still contact you. Even if your decree does release you from financial responsibility, failure to contact your lender directly could lead to your credit being impacted by late payment or non-payment.
Custody and Visitation
It is possible that your divorce will be finalized before either spouse obtains full custody or court ordered visitation for children of the marriage. Do not assume that receiving your divorce means that your legal parental rights are now secure. You must still obtain physical custody or the right to visitation before moving with your child or agreeing to letting your spouse take the child for an extended period of time. Not taking steps in advance could lead to your ex-spouse blindsiding you with custody proceedings when you are still vulnerable from a financially draining divorce.
After the divorce is over and a spouse has to move out, obtain his or her own insurance, or complete other tasks to separate his or her life from that of that of an ex-spouse, things can get expensive. Moving is not cheap and certain forms of insurance are more expensive for single people versus couples. Assuming that you and your ex-spouse will split the costs or that funds from selling joint property will become available before your deadline to move or return a vehicle arrives will not make those things come true. Always make sure that you are financially able to uphold your end of the agreement without relying on funds from the divorce that may take 30 days or more to become available.
Consult an Attorney
Prior to finalizing your agreement, talk to a divorce attorney who can help verify that you have included everything important in your divorce decree. One omission can lead to expensive or time consuming consequences so talking to a professional is highly recommended. The lawyers at Vayman & Teitelbaum have assisted hundreds of adults throughout each stage of their divorce process. Our team is ready to give you the legal advice you need to move forward with your life. Contact us today and schedule a consultation at one of our Atlanta area offices so that we can begin discussing your unique needs.