The road to a divorce is filled with negotiations about children, property, and finances. A person who is focusing on custody and money may fail to realize how much a spouse’s seemingly innocuous requests can impact the future. A person who is eager to conclude a divorce may agree to terms without fully understanding how serious they are. During the divorce process, if your spouse or his or her attorney includes the following requests in their settlement offer, you might want to think twice before agreeing to the terms. No matter how amicable your post-divorce relationship appears, it is best to avoid making any hasty decisions.
Extended Child Support
Though child support often ends when a child turns 18, it is not unusual for the support period to extend until the child graduates from high school. When you and your spouse are determining how to handle child support, always review the agreement carefully if any type of extension is discussed. While Georgia child support is calculated using a predetermined formula, the custodial parent may request that child support payments continue through college. A court will rarely agree to these extensions unless both parties agree or the child has special needs that require extensive long-term care. However, it is possible for a spouse to accidentally agree to an unorthodox support payment schedule because he or she failed to read or truly comprehend the language of the support documentation.
One spouse may request that the soon to be ex-spouse continue paying for the children’s health insurance coverage. A non-custodial parent with a job that offers affordable health insurance coverage may not mind this stipulation, but agreeing to handle medical insurance premiums could turn into an expensive mistake. Changing jobs becomes more complicated when you must keep continual coverage for a minor child or risk being taken to court for contempt. If you lose your job and have to utilize Continuation of Health Coverage (COBRA) insurance, the premiums could be more than you can easily afford. Also, if your child is diagnosed with a chronic illness that requires long-term treatment, ending coverage after the child turns 18 may not be an option or the premiums will remain high.
Mandatory Life Insurance
A spouse may ask that you establish and maintain a life insurance policy with his or her as the only beneficiary as part of the divorce process. The money received from the policy will replace the alimony or child support that the deceased will no longer be paying. Initially the life insurance policy may be affordable, but as the policyholder ages, the premiums often become more expensive. Things can become especially complicated if the settlement requires that the life insurance policy be maintained indefinitely and there is a large age gap between the former couple. A person could pay hundreds of dollars monthly to maintain a life insurance policy in addition to child support, alimony, health insurance, and his or her own living expenses.
Getting Help from an Expert
No matter how well you think you know your spouse, there is no way to know what his or her true intentions are surrounding divorce-related requests. Agreeing to something that seems harmless initially can quickly turn into a financial nightmare. Instead of attempting to negotiate a settlement on your own behalf it is best to contact a qualified family law attorney who can advise you regarding divorce, child support, alimony, and property division. The attorneys at Vayman & Teitelbaum are able to help you determine what settlement terms are reasonable while keeping communication between all parties professional. Contact us today to schedule a consultation at one of our Atlanta metro area locations so that we can provide you with the answers you need.