The first thought of a divorce is a hard one for most people. All thoughts rapidly turn to “what if” based on uncertainty. However, most everyone has a friend, associate or ex-spouse that provides some foundation for information getting the basic divorce “to do” list complete: who will get the kids and on what schedule, which car do I want, who will be “his” or “her” friends after the legal matter is a distant memory.
However, with a marriage of any duration, there are many complex considerations associated with untangling any complex “business” transaction. Today, three common, but often forgotten or last minute considerations may make the difference between just “getting by” after a divorce to really moving on and thriving. The devil is in the details. Don’t forget these three key considerations:
- Health insurance. Under COBRA, a spouse may elect to purchase coverage under the other spouse’s plan they were covered under for up the 36 months. However, COBRA is expensive. This brings up the obvious question of who will pay for the COBRA insurance if necessary. With the health insurance market place, depending upon enrollment dates, this may not be as significant as it once was from a financial standpoint, but must be considered by both divorcing spouses. This is a significant expense that likely did not exist when the parties were married that can be of the magnitude of the cost of rent or a car payment; and must be considered with other out-of-pocket health expenses, such as prescription drugs. Start considering this immediately when you consider a divorce.
- Division, transfer, and use of retirement accounts. The issues surrounding retirement accounts span the entire divorce. For instance, once the divorce decree is entered, it is important to ensure a QDRO or other order is entered and the account divided. That said, a spouse receiving a part of another (former) spouses retirement account must remember that if he or she plans (and can) liquidate part or all of that account for living or other expenses after divorce, it is likely with a significant tax consequence. Meaning it will require withdrawing much more than a dollar to reach a net dollar in hand. If this is your case, it is important to talk with your accountant about this issue.
- All assets and liabilities. Although it may sound like the proverbial “no-brainer” it is important to make a complete asset and liability list for use in the divorce. It a large number of cases the parties forget about an asset (thing) or liability (debt, which may be secured by an asset) until long after the divorce is entered. The trial court loses jurisdiction to include this asset or liability in the marital divorce order 30 days after it is entered. This may cause untold problems from additional legal fees to being deprived of an asset or stuck with a debt. Carefully think through all you have and all you owe. You and your counsel will need this to properly effectuate a just and reasonable divorce.1
This blog is written for general educational purposes only by attorneys at Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. It is not specific legal advice or a solicitation for legal services. Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. attorneys practice throughout the State and handle simple to complex divorce and post-divorce matter. We hope you find this blog informational.