When you are in the midst of a separation or divorce, your main concerns are likely your children’s well-being, how your property will be divided and how this will affect you financially. All of these certainly are immensely important to address, but one area that you may neglect is planning for you and your children or grandchildren’s financial future and possible health issues you may incur as a “single person”.
An Absolute Divorce is the legal term for obtaining a divorce in North Carolina. North Carolina is a no-fault state; meaning the grounds for asking the Court to enter a judgment for an Absolute Divorce is that you have been separated 366 consecutive days (a year and one day) from your spouse and have the intent to remain separate and apart permanently. An absolute divorce simply gives you the legal right to remarry. It does not address the issues of property division, child custody, spousal or child support.
Your separation and divorce should include discussions and review, with your attorney, of your current Will, Power of Attorney and Healthcare Power of Attorney. If you have all of these important documents already, you, more than likely, named your spouse as the beneficiary or person to determine your health and/or financial issues in the event you become incapacitated. If you do not have these documents, or do not have them reviewed and updated, and you are separated or divorced, your current spouse may benefit or have control over your estate, healthcare or financial affairs in the event of your death, healthcare emergency or if you become incapacitated.
In addition to revisiting your will for healthcare and financial affairs, it’s important to discuss guardianship/custody of your minor children. If something were to happen to you, who would you want to become the custodian of your child(ren)? You can appoint a guardian in the instance that you were to pass away. However, this merely shows your intent, and custody would automatically go to the surviving parent. If something were to happen to you and the other parent, the guardian that you named in your will would be valid, but that guardian would still need to petition the court for guardianship or custody.
We understand that going through separation and divorce is a difficult time and the changes come fast and furious. New Direction Family Law, along with their trusted resource partners, are here to help you through those changes that affect you now and those in the future. Protecting your financial future and putting directives in place in the event of declining health or death can ease your fears and help you work toward the life you want and deserve.