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divorce and life insurance

Getting Divorced? Don’t Forget about Life Insurance

divorce and life insurance

 

If you’re a divorced woman, chances are you’ve got a lot on your plate right now. The chaotic and difficult process of getting divorced means you’ll spend lots of time weeding through the marital assets, separating finances, and sorting out vital things like custody of children. Getting financially stable after a divorce is no easy feat, and there are lots to manage.

One area many divorcing couples overlook is life insurance. As a divorced woman, the challenges addressed by securing life insurance are two-fold. First and foremost, any existing policies will need to be adjusted to change beneficiaries and ensure the protection of child support or alimony payments. Secondly, you’ll need to consider the best kind of life insurance policy for your situation and how much coverage you’ll need moving forward.

Here are a few items to add to your to-do list as a divorcee to ensure you and any dependents are financially protected, both in the short term and the foreseeable future.

Getting Divorced? Don’t Forget about Life Insurance

Changing Beneficiaries

When you were married, your spouse was probably listed as the primary beneficiary on your life insurance policy. After all, the entire point of life insurance is to shelter your family and loved ones if your income is lost through a tragic death. A life insurance policy is a crucial contingency plan for meeting financial obligations like mortgages, car payments, and putting food on the table.

After a divorce, much of that calculus changes. If you are divorced without children, chances are you’re not keen to see your spouse benefit on the event of your demise. No matter your marital status, life insurance companies don’t dispute who receives payouts on a policy. For the company, it’s a simple contract between the insurance carrier and the policyholder. The beneficiary is whomever you documented when you took out the policy, and that won’t change unless you file a specific request with the company.

Changing beneficiaries is usually a straightforward process of contacting your life insurance carrier. Unless you have a policy with irrevocable beneficiaries, you can specify someone new to receive the payout upon your death with minimal paperwork and fuss. Some insurance carriers provide ways to accomplish this online, while others require going through a broker or submitting notarized documentation.

And remember, life insurance isn’t the only thing you’ll need to update. Remember to switch over other insurance policies, including health, home, and auto insurance. It’s also essential to change the beneficiaries in any legal documentation that might survive you, like a will and a power of attorney.

Policies with Cash Value

Some permanent life insurance policies, such as whole life or universal life policies, accumulate cash value. As you pay premiums, a portion of the money goes into an investment fund that can expand as the stocks rise. If you’ve had such a policy and recently divorced, you probably discovered the balance in that fund is considered part of the marital assets. You’ll typically have two options—keep the policy and continue paying premiums or cash out and divide the spoils.

For typical term life insurance policies, no payout is made until death occurs or the policy period expires. However, for whole and universal life insurance policies, you can choose to decline any potential death benefit in lieu of taking the current cash value of the policy. Therefore, these kinds of permanent life insurance policies are considered part of your net worth as a couple and get divided as assets during the divorce settlement accordingly.

You may also want to speak to a financial advisor in addition to your divorce attorney before making any critical decisions about dissolving or dividing assets. Financial experts can give you advice about how to handle transitioning not only insurance policies but also other assets like 401(k) and retirement plans in a way that’s equitable for both spouses and avoids tax penalties.

Protect Your Income

When you get divorced, life insurance isn’t solely about covering your lost income for the dependents you leave behind. It’s also about replacing any potential child support or alimony payments if you or your former spouse should die. For the parent who retains primary custody after a divorce, a life insurance policy is a crucial safety net that can cover the costs associated with raising children, including future financial necessities like supporting them through college.

There are several ways to handle securing life insurance coverage on your former spouse. Some couples choose to make the stipulations about the policy and premiums part of the divorce decree. The court may even order the head of the household to take out a life insurance policy as part of the settlement. In cases where the court requires a spouse to maintain a life insurance policy after divorce, the coverage and duration mandated usually reflect the obligation. For example, if the life insurance is intended to cover a significant loss of income and child support for the custodial parent, the policy term will usually need to extend until the dependents are 18 or 21.

Financial Security for Children

If you carried a life insurance policy during the marriage to provide for your children in the event of a death, that need still exists. Plus, in an acrimonious divorce, things don’t always work out according to plan. If you have concerns about whether your former spouse will follow-through on making payments, take control of the life insurance policy yourself and pay the premiums to avoid any risk of coverage lapse. Even if the coverage was specified as part of your divorce decree, it may take time and significant hassle to get follow through on those stipulations enforced by the court. In the interim, you want the assurance that your policy is paid up and your coverage current.

When you’re raising children as a single parent, protecting your own income becomes doubly important after a divorce. In the event of your death, while arrangements may be made for someone you trust to care for your children, you’ll still want them to enjoy financial security through a generous life insurance benefit. The simplest way to calculate how much life insurance coverage you’ll need is to take the number of years until your child turns 18 or 21, then multiply it by your annual income. That amount is the bare minimum of insurance coverage you should be securing per child.

You can name your child as a beneficiary, but be aware that policies typically don’t pay out to a dependent under the age of majority. Instead, the court will appoint a custodian, usually the surviving parent, to supervise holding the funds in an account until your child is of age. If you don’t want your former spouse to be appointed by the court, specify a custodian as part of the policy.

A Word of Warning

If you’re still in the process of finalizing a divorce or in the beginning stages of filing for one, consult with your divorce attorney before taking any action. In most cases, assets are frozen during the process of a divorce and both parties are required to be fully transparent about any financial obligations, including insurance policies. Changing beneficiaries or coverage during divorce proceedings could raise red flags and unnecessarily prolong and complicate your settlement.

You should, however, do your research and be prepared to suggest any policy changes or premiums you want specified as part of the divorce decree. While divorce can be a painful process, it’s also an opportunity to take charge of your financial future and secure stability for both yourself and your dependents.

The post Getting Divorced? Don’t Forget about Life Insurance appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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Don’t Be Bitter After Divorce: Be Better!

Don’t Be Bitter After Divorce: Be Better!

I want to fully let go of that bitterness and resentment. I can’t carry it for thirty some years—it’s too heavy.

The post Don’t Be Bitter After Divorce: Be Better! appeared first on Divorce Magazine.

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mistakes when dating after divorce

Don’t Make These 7 Mistakes When Dating After Divorce

mistakes when dating after divorce

 

If I had my way the word “date” would not be part of the English language. There would be a less stressful way of finding a future mate. What, I don’t know, but definitely less stressful. The “dating game” and the mechanics of it set most of us up to make this one huge mistake…appearing desperate.

In Dating Is The Worst Way To Find Love And We Should All Stop Doing It, Jessica Blankenship pretty much says it all up.

Look, I don’t care how perfectly self-aware and secure you are, when you focus too much attention on how you’re coming off to someone else, especially if you’re attracted to that person, you’re going to f#@k it up. Somehow. You’re going to be a little too calculating with your words and actions, a little too nervous, and then a little too boastful to compensate for it, and then self-deprecating to compensate for the arrogance (and you’re not even typically an arrogant person! WTF is this date doing to you?) and by the end of the night, you’re back at home with a nauseating certainty that the lovely person you just shared a meal with has the completely wrong impression of you and you pretty much want to die.

We try desperately to make a great first impression. To such a degree that we can’t help but come off desperate in our search for new love. And, let’s face it, desperation stinks! So, to keep the odor down and the crazy at bay below are a few suggestions for those who want to start enjoying dating after divorce and possibly finding a new relationship.

You Don’t Want to Make These Mistakes When Dating After Divorce

1. Persistent Talking Is a No, No:

A solid relationship will take time to form. In other words, you’ve got plenty of time to tell your life story if you’ve made a match. It doesn’t have to be done on the first date. And, if it isn’t done on the first date you’ve got a better chance at a second date.

Relax, chill out and keep somethings to yourself. Don’t talk about your high conflict divorce, your dysfunctional childhood or that nuisance of a co-worker you deal with daily. We all have baggage we lug around but it’s best if you don’t unpack any of it on a first date.

Live your dates in the moment. Focus on your surroundings, activities and the person you are with. You will find plenty to talk about by making the choice to talk about the “here and now.”

2. Keep Your Scary Skeletons In The Closet:

Seriously, no one wants to know how many times your ex cheated on you before they get to know YOU. Did you spend a night in Juvie at sixteen or, shoplift a lip gloss at twelve? We’ve all done things we’re not proud of, most of us have done something a bit sketchy in our past. Save it for the third or fourth date when you are more certain of how they will respond.

3. Don’t Drop Your Standards:

When thinking about a future mate or a new love relationship we all have a list of “must haves.” Traits like honesty, security, work ethic, physical attraction, compatibility, and intelligence. The desperate dater, the one who feels they are kissing a lot of toads and not coming up with a prince may be tempted to lower their standards.

Big mistake!

Someone who is not worthy of you, knows they are not worthy of you. They know you are settling for less than you want and need and will take advantage of that weakness.

For example, I have a friend who just broke up with her “boyfriend.” She dated this man for seven months. During those seven months, he had never picked up a dinner tab or paid for her drinks. He never called ahead to schedule a date either. He would text or call at the last moment wanting to meet for drinks or dancing.

He was a “busy” scientist who traveled a lot for work, she was a lonely divorcee who wanted attention and company. He played on her desperation and she allowed herself to believe that someone who was using her for a booty call was a “boyfriend.” When she learned he was a scientist who wasn’t “busy” or traveling but married, she ended the relationship and reevaluated what it was about herself that allowed her to lower her standards.

4. Don’t Be Too Available:

This is a mistake my friend made. If you are ready to go out with thirty minutes notice for a “date” what message are you sending the other person? Don’t allow anyone to believe that you can be their afterthought or last minute “go to” when bored or other plans fall through.

Unless you are in an established relationship with this person set a pattern that lets them know you are worthy of making plans with days in advance. If you don’t, you’ll never move beyond the “afterthought” phase of a relationship.

5. Don’t Complain About Being Single:

Want to put your date in their place, really let them know why you are there in the first place…to find a new mate, complain about being single. Yeah, do that and there definitely won’t be a second date. You may be seeking empathy but you aren’t likely to get it from someone if they feel the date is an audition for the role of future husband/wife.

6. Contact Overkill:

If a first and second date goes well, it’s important to keep in touch but it is possible to go overboard. Emailing, calling and texting two or three times a day is a good way to scare off someone with potential. Nothing says, “Borderline stalker” like constant texting or calling. Back away from the iPhone!

7. Not Create Some Space:

Last, but certainly not least create space between your life and a new relationship. If you get lucky and make a great connection with a date don’t become consumed by that person and the new relationship. The goal is to find someone new to share your life with, not to make the new relationship your entire life.

You have your own life and they have theirs. The point is to come together and create something that is beneficial to both parties…your life plus a little something new.

Dating, as daunting as it is, is the main way most will find a new relationship. New relationships have natural phases, there is a beginning, a middle and if you are lucky, a “happily ever after.” Desperation causes some to rush through those natural phases which, in turn, works against them finding the “one” they long to meet. Relax, don’t come on too strong and enjoy dating. Doing so will promote the goal of finding new love.

The post Don’t Make These 7 Mistakes When Dating After Divorce appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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Men Don

Why Men Don’t Seek Support From Each Other During Divorce

Men Don't Seek Support From Each Other During Divorce

 

My Facebook feed is filled with divorced or almost divorced women turning to each other for support and there is one thing you won’t find on there:

Men.

Single dads and divorced dads are not gathering in tribes on social media boards or in person to chat about their plight and experience with divorce even if they want to.

Why Men Don’t Seek Support From Each Other During Divorce

A study published in 2000 in the Psychological Review, showed that stressed women “tend and befriend” while men go for the “fight or flight” option. Researchers suggest that this is due to the fact that when stressed, men’s brains omit less oxytocin, that feel-good love hormone than women. And according to statistics produced by the American Psychological Association in 2011, women (70%) are more apt to do something to reduce their stress than men (50%) are.

No matter which way we slice it, research shows that men tend to go the solo route when it comes to working through stress while women look for company along the way. Men don’t want to raise their hands and say, “Hey everyone, my life sucks,” or “I miss my ex-wife,” or “It’s really hard raising kids in a single parent home.” Doing that would mean admitting pain and hardship, something that isn’t considered a masculine trait and let’s face it, while women have been the oppressed gender from the start, men also suffer from unfair stereotypes and expectations.

It’s not OK, according to society, for a man to cry.

“Be a man, suck it up.”

You’ve heard that phrase tossed around and so have I. We tell men to be brave and strong and to keep a straight face. This doesn’t leave a lot of room for grief and sadness. So it isn’t surprising then that single dads and divorced men are not looking for a support group, but to me, this limits divorced men and single dads from moving past divorce in a healthy way.

If men could form groups or did form groups, it could help them grieve divorce and learn new parenting strategies from other dads. If a man did reach out to another man to say, “Hey, how did you find a good custody schedule,” or “Is mediation the better route?” it would be beneficial for that just-divorcing dad. Going solo on such a huge time of adversity like becoming a divorced, single dad seems risky, from my female-wired brain.

It could also be the reason men seem to jump into new relationships, faster. A new partner might just be the divorced man’s support group, but that is problematic too. Another woman shouldn’t be your springboard for grief and renewal.

So for all the divorced dads out there, why not see befriending or growing your support network of other divorced and single dads in a different light, rather than seeing it as a “b*tch fest” or gathering like a group of old ladies?

See it as a:

  • A chance to network: Maybe your new friends will have good business contacts or even better, cute single female friends.
  • A chance to mentor: If you’re a single dad mentoring a man who’s going through the divorce process, you can be a father figure to someone going through the experience—an adoptive son or little brother, as it were.
  • A chance to learn from others: Use your man brain and be logical: someone who has been there or done that will know certain pitfalls to avoid as you go through the divorce process that you wouldn’t have known without asking someone in the “know.”

To all the divorced dads or “going through a divorce” dads, why not do things a little differently in your life? Making contacts and building a support network isn’t just for women. It’s for smart people who want to make a huge life adjustment a bit easier or in other words, it’s for you!

The post Why Men Don’t Seek Support From Each Other During Divorce appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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if you abandon your child

If You Abandon Your Children, I Don’t Want To Hear About Your “Father’s Rights”

if you abandon your child

 

A couple of years ago the Huffington Post ran an article the day before Father’s Day that got the Father’s Rights guys a bit upset. But when a woman writes an article about a less than perfect father those guys normally respond with dismissal, disdain, and disregard so that was no big surprise

In their mind, if you say something unpleasant about one father you have offended every father. And, they love to make excuses for deadbeat or absent fathers and that excuse normally runs along the lines of, “its all moms fault.”

One comment caught my attention due to its astounding show of immaturity and it’s representation of how I feel some men attached to the Father’s Rights movement respond to divorce and custody issues.

I had printed out the comment and came across it again while Marie Kondoing my house. It still, to this day has the same impact on me.

“Divorce court is a woman’s court. Your man bailed out is probably just like me, it is far better for the children for the father to disappear than to be used as a punching bag by the mother, courts, society, and in the end, the children.”

Granted the grammar is bad but if you try hard you can make sense of it. Evidently, this comment was made by a father who has chosen to “bail” on his children, as did the father who was the subject of the Huffington Post article.

If You Abandon Your Children You Have NO Excuse!

What I find astonishing is the reason the commenter has bailed. He didn’t want to be used as a punching bag by the mother, the courts or society. I had no idea until I read that, that paternal instinct, fathering and loving one’s children was depended upon a mother’s actions, the court’s actions or the actions of society.

No one forced him to leave his children. Nothing happened to cause him to lose his role as a father. He may have had divorce forced upon him along with a custody agreement he wasn’t happy with but, really, is that any reason to choose to no longer father your children?

It’s like saying, “you people were mean to me so I’m taking daddy away from my children.” The guy actually punished his children by withdrawing from them as a father for something someone else did to him. And, in his mind, he thinks he has done his children a favor.

Why can’t I wrap my mind around this justification? Probably because it is irrational and totally out of touch with what his children needed from him REGARDLESS of how difficult he found it to remain in their lives.

Plus, in my experience with divorce, I’ve known of the inability of the Family Court system to deal appropriately with the issues of divorce, custody and all things related BUT, at no time have I formed the belief that that was any reason to bail on my child.

The Problem With the Father’s Rights Movement:

Their seedy underbelly is too vocal and in being so they reflect poorly on the Father’s Rights movement and men who don’t abandon children for any reason. There is a small fringe of this movement that has declared war on women and children and that fringe keeps those who are truly concerned about their rights as fathers from being taken seriously.

Nothing will change in our dysfunctional Family Court until mothers and fathers work together to change the system. As long as some members of the Father’s Rights movement insist on accusing women of victimizing them via the court system and excuse each other for abandoning their children, women and mothers will have no interest in working with them in any capacity.

If men want shared or 50/50 custody of their children they are more likely to change custody laws if they are working in union with women and mothers, not blaming them but working with them. Men, women, and children are harmed during divorce. A lot of that harm comes from a system that is in dire need of reform. That reform isn’t going to take place if fringe elements of angry men are allowed to continue to spew venom and anger from their keyboards.

Let’s face it, as parents, we can’t get what we all want for our children, what is in their best interest until we all come together and stop blaming each other.

The post If You Abandon Your Children, I Don’t Want To Hear About Your “Father’s Rights” appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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