Although nobody ever likes to think that their marriage could end in divorce, the sad fact is that almost half of all U.S. marriages don't make it. Even if you have a strong marriage, it’s never too early to start planning your children’s secured future.
What Steps Should You Take to Safeguard Your Children In The Case Of A Future Divorce?
While you may think that your spouse is agreeable and will follow your wishes after you separate or divorce, counting on that can be a huge gamble. In the aftermath of a divorce, it's common for a once-happy couple to react impulsively and give in to their hurt feelings, and the children inevitably become caught in the middle of the crossfire.
When this happens, the emotional and psychological pain children feel can last a lifetime, causing long-term damage and affecting how they handle relationships as adults.
Given that children are particularly susceptible to pain, trauma, and emotional damage after their parents split up, take some steps now to protect your children in the event of a future divorce.
1. Create A Safeguard Plan For Your Children
The best way to declare your wishes regarding your children's future is by creating a comprehensive plan detailing their care. A children's safeguard plan contains specific information about your choice for a durable power of attorney, emergency guardianship, and wishes regarding your children’s future lifestyle. You can incorporate this into your custodial parenting plan to ensure that it has legal validity in the event of a divorce or separation.
2. Determine Guardianship And Power Of Attorney
One of the first steps you need to take as parents is deciding on guardianship and power of attorney for your children. The sooner you and your spouse can make this agreement, the better. During a divorce, there's a strong chance that you and your ex-spouse will be unable to agree on major issues, which can jeopardize your children's future safety and well-being.
What's the difference between a guardian and a medical power of attorney for minor children?
Guardian: A legal guardian is a person you appoint to care for your children and make all their financial, medical, education, and legal decisions if you and your spouse cannot care for them. The guardian must provide basic care, including food, shelter, healthcare, schooling, etc. For more detailed information, check out our guide to choosing guardians for your minor children.
Medical Power of Attorney: A power of attorney is the person to whom you give the ability to make important decisions for your children’s medical care in the event of your death or incapacity. A medical power of attorney can make decisions about doctors and dental providers, vaccinations and immunizations, surgeries, or specialized medical care.
3. Place Your Children's Inheritance In A Trust
The next critical step to protect your children is to place their inheritance into a trust and appoint a third party to manage the assets until your kids turn 18.
If you and your spouse divorce, you may not have a problem with your ex having joint custody of your children. However, you probably will not want your ex-spouse controlling (or spending!) the inheritance you left your children if something should happen to you.
The best way to get around this is by placing your children's inheritance into a trust. Then, you would name a third party as trustee, who would control those financial assets until your children reach a predetermined age. It’s the only way to ensure that your children’s inheritance stays safe and sound until they are old enough to spend it themselves.
Finding a North Carolina Estate Planning Attorney Near Me
At Carolina Family Estate Planning, we know that nobody ever marries with the intent of divorcing. However, it does happen—and when it does, children are the first ones in the line of fire. They will often blame themselves for the pain and hurt of their parents splitting up.
By building a comprehensive estate plan, we'll help you safeguard your children's future, giving you peace of mind and protecting them somewhat from the trauma of a divorce or a broken household.
Call our team at Carolina Family Estate Planning in Cary, North Carolina, today at (919) 443-3035 or complete our contact form to schedule your needs assessment.
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