Three Things to Do After Separation (Tie Up Loose Ends between Separation and Divorce)

The immediate things you worry about when divorcing is determining custodial rights, dividing assets and setting child support and/or spousal support. However, before a divorce, you need to also do a few other things to tie up loose ends. This is a list of three things to do upon separation:

  1. Change Your Will

If you designated your spouse as the main beneficiary or executor of your will, you probably want to replace him with another beneficiary.

You need to change or amend your will in order to designate a new beneficiary and will keep your spouse from inheriting any separate property if you die during the divorce and all of your property if you die after the divorce.

If you don’t change your will and a divorce is finalized, your ex-spouse will not receive the benefits. In Virginia, the law states that divorce spouses are considered predeceased. Therefore, the portion of your property that is designated for your spouse will go to your alternative beneficiary.

However, it is best practice to have a new will drafted during a divorce, to ensure your assets are distributed to the people you want.

  1. Life Insurance and Pension Beneficiary

If you have designated your spouse as the beneficiary of your life insurance or pension benefits, your spouse’s right to your life insurance benefits and retirement funds also terminates at the completion of your divorce. However, while you are separated or going through the divorce, your beneficiary stays as it would if a divorce had not been filed. To make sure that these funds go to the proper beneficiary, make sure to contact your agent directly to make a new beneficiary designation. A Judge may order you to keep life insurance or divide your retirement upon divorce and you will have to make a change again, but to make sure your wishes are upheld when you pass, make these changes as soon as possible.

  1. Power of Attorney

You may also have a Power of Attorney for medical decisions, etc. You most likely have designated your spouse as the Power of Attorney. If you are going through a divorce, you don’t want your estranged spouse making any decisions for you. In Virginia, your power of attorney terminates upon the filing of divorce, but if you are separated and have not filed for divorce, then your soon-to-be ex can still make decisions if the power of attorney is invoked. Therefore, you should have an attorney prepare a new Power of Attorney as soon as possible.

If you’re ready to get a divorce, Contact Keithley Law, PLLC, PLLC today by calling (703) 454-5147 and schedule an initial consultation in our Fairfax law office with one of our Virginia divorce attorneys. We can walk you through the steps to get the most out of your divorce.