“Y” is for Yearly
Review Your Divorce Agreement
Once you are divorced and a settlement agreement has been entered, it is tempting to “close the door” and put this critical document into a drawer, vowing to never looking at it again. However, many of the issues addressed in your settlement agreement apply to events and circumstances that will occur in the future. One needs to look no further than the various post-judgment motions that fill the family court’s docket to understand that the entry of the divorce judgment does not necessarily mean the end of the process.
Following a divorce, there are a number of post-judgment issues that must be dealt with immediately or shortly after your case is finalized. These issues include any real estate transfers, insurance policy changes, or the division of retirement assets. Delay in addressing such issues may have a significant impact on your taxes and minimize the value of retirement assets in which you are to receive through equitable distribution.
As time goes on there are other issues that often require annual follow-up, or may become relevant down the line. For example, many divorces require one or both spouses to maintain a certain amount of life insurance coverage with specific beneficiary designations. Given that life insurance policies need to be renewed and that beneficiary designations can be changed, it is important for you to review your coverage obligations an annual basis and exchange any necessary proofs with the other party.
Many divorced parties are also required to follow a specific procedure as to seeking reimbursement for certain child-related expenses. If you receive formal child support, then it is likely that you are responsible for the first $250 of unreimbursed health care expenses per child. If you typically do not exceed this $250 threshold, you can quickly forget the notice and reimbursement procedure for health care expenses above this amount. Failing to follow the procedure provided for in the divorce agreement could negatively impact your ability to collect the other party’s share of said expense. Similarly, if your children are young when you get divorced, you will want to review and refresh yourself with the procedure laid out for the selection and division of college costs or driving expenses. With the rising costs of college, this could have a significant financial impact.
Reviewing your divorce instrument at least once a year will refresh your recollection regarding these issues and help you to remain vigilant about ensuring not only your compliance with the divorce instrument, but with ensuring the other party’s compliance.
If you have any questions about this topic or any other family law related issue, please do not hesitate to contact the attorneys of Ulrichsen Rosen & Freed LLC.