What Decisions Do We Need to Make in Divorce?

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Divorce rearranges your whole life, so there is a myriad of decisions to be made.  This is a problem because anyone will tell you that people going through divorce spend a lot of time in highly emotional states–angry or sad, anxious or hurt, yearning for revenge or consumed by guilt, or any combination of the above.  In contrast, life decisions should be made after thoughtfully reflecting on your own interests and those of the people you love, especially the interests of your children.  Here’s a list of issues you need to consider.

  1. Children: (a) Will one or both parents make major life decisions for the children; (b) How will the parenting time be divided; and (c) How much child support will be paid?
  2. The marital home:  What will the spouses do with the marital home and its contents?
  3. Other real estate, if any:  What will happen to summer homes, investment properties, timeshares, etc.?
  4. Vehicles:  Who retains which car, other vehicle or boat?  Who pays existing loans on each?  How will the insurance, title, and registration look after the divorce?
  5. Health/Dental Insurance:  How will each spouse and the children be insured after divorce?
  6. What kind of life insurance policy exist and what will happen with them after the divorce.
  7. Cash assets:  spouses must disclose to each other all cash assets and must agree how to distribute these in the divorce.
  8. Businesses:  each spouse must disclose the value of each business owned and must decide what will happen to each.
  9. Retirement accounts:  each spouse must disclose his/her retirement account, and spouses must settle on a way to divide these.
  10. Credit card and loan debt:  each spouse must disclose his/her credit card, loan or other debt, and spouses must come to an agreement who will pay these.
  11. Tax Filings: the spouses must come to an agreement how they will file their federal and state income tax returns for the year in which they will get divorced, and if separately, who will apply the dependency deduction (and other deductions) for each child of the marriage.
  12. Married v. Maiden name:  if the wife has taken the name of the husband, then she must decide whether she will go back using her maiden name or continue to use her married name.
  13. Special issues:  Every couple will have additional issues depending on their situation, such as pets and hard-copy photo albums.

The Sane Divorce