This certainly wasn't what you anticipated when you walked down the aisle. You genuinely thought you and your spouse would end up sitting on a porch, drinking lemonade and watching your grandkids play.
But things went a different direction and even though it isn't what you anticipated, you are settling into your new normal and looking forward to a happy, healthy future.
Is there something you're forgetting?
You and your ex-spouse have split custody and you love each week that you have the kids-just as you also enjoy the week when you can work late and focus on getting projects done. Although the two of you couldn't say married, you always worked well together-ensuring that your family was covered in emergencies, and you intend to do the same as you all move forward. But is there something you have forgotten?
New life-new will
When you and your spouse were married, you had a will drawn up to ensure that a guardian was named and all assets were distributed in the event that one or both of you passed during the marriage. But now you are newly single, have divided assets and divided custody. The new you also needs a new will-the old one became obsolete the minute the judge signed your decree.
What should you consider?
As mentioned above, you divided assets. Maybe, as is common in Texas, you walked away with more assets in lieu of spousal maintenance. Those assets need to be part of your new estate plan. Will they go to your children? Will you leave them to your ex to care for the kids (it's not a far-fetched idea)? Perhaps you would like to set up a trust so that the interest income is used to cover child-rearing expenses now and college costs later. Your new will can set that up.
Custody is another issue. You have split custody, but does your ex spouse want to take the kids 100 percent of the time if you pass? Maybe her work schedule would make it prohibitive. Did you agree on a guardian before you were divorced and are you still in agreement? This may be the time for both of you to indicate that in separate wills.
And what about those life insurance policies you each have through your employers? This is the time to change beneficiaries and ensure that the proceeds are paid out as you desire.
It's easy to think: That's a job for tomorrow. But no one plans on dying; generally speaking it happens when we aren't expecting it. Knowing your family is cared for is one of the most critical things you can do for their future. Making your new estate plan part of your new life is just plain practical-and prudent.