Don’t just file away your divorce agreement

When was the last time you looked at your divorce agreement? Whether you’ve been divorced for 2 years, 10 years, or 20, you should revisit your agreement when your divorce is over. After a divorce, there is a mixture of sadness and some relief and most people want to put the divorce process behind them and forget about it. Resist this urge! Here’s our advice:

At a bare minimum, review your agreement once — shortly after your divorce — to ascertain what you need to do and when, and what your spouse needs to do and when. Make a list (or calendar entries) of what needs to be done by a date certain and put reminders in your calendar. Some examples include:

  • When my children enter college, does support get revisited?
  • Am I waiting (or obligated to provide) for life insurance specific information under the agreement?
  • When does the medical insurance obligation of you or your former spouse end?
  • When does the life insurance obligation terminate?
  • Is there an end to alimony or child support obligations?
  • Is either party required to close out accounts or credit cards?
  • Are there any other time sensitive requirements?
  • Are uninsured health expenses for the children required to be exchanged periodically?
  • When do discussions for college need to begin?
  • Are there deadlines by which summer or other vacation notices or parenting notices need to be sent?

All divorce agreements have time sensitive obligations and responsibilities. If you fail to meet them, or if you fail to enforce your spouse’s obligations and responsibilities, there may be adverse consequences. You undoubtedly invested a substantial amount of money and time into having an agreement negotiated to protect your interests.

Make sure you receive the benefits of the agreement provisions by following up. If you won the lottery, you would surely not forget to turn in your ticket and collect the money. Similarly, your responsibilities under the agreement need to be completed.

Review the terms of your agreement periodically—as painful or distasteful as it may be to revisit the divorce—and make sure both you and your former spouse comply with all of the provisions, and that you receive and collect everything that is due you.

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