Important Divorce Considerations

August 11, 2009

By: Barry Armata

Children, Property and Debt Division, Cash Flow, Taxes, and Insurance

Prior to going through a divorce it is a very good idea to understand what the issues that need to be decided are. Generally they fall into 4 categories:

  1. Children's issues including parenting plans, access, etc.
  2. Property and debt division
  3. Family cash flow including child and spousal support [alimony]
  4. Miscellaneous items such as tax statuses, security for obligations, future conflict resolution

While each marital relationship is unique, many families encounter similar issues that need resolution. The following is a list many items that may need to be dealt with or discussed to bring closure to the dissolution of your marriage. You should review the list to discuss with your attorney what is applicable to you, what some of the ways are others, including the courts, have dealt with them, and what are your thoughts on the same.

1. Children's issues:

  • Underage Children

    Mandatory parenting education
    Parenting specialist
    Information about divorce
    Counseling
    Major decision making - legal custody
    Day to day decision making
    Child's residence
    Primary residence
    Residential custody
    Shared custody
    Split custody
    Child's schedule
    Visitation
    Access
    Holidays
    Vacations
    Parental responsibility plan
    Conflict resolution
    Parenting phone call
    Communications
    Extra curricular activities
    Child care
    Camp
    Private school
    Tutoring
    Special needs
    Relocation
    Family members
    Emergencies
  • Adult Children

    Living situation
    Expenses
    Vocational school decisions and expenses
    College decisions and expenses
    Graduate school decisions and expenses
    Educational support order
    Life insurance
    Medical/dental/vision insurance

2. Property and debt division

  • Valuation
    Family home
    Vacation home
    Investment property
    Bank accounts
    Investment accounts (non retirement)
    Retirement funds including pensions, IRAs, cash balance plans, 401(k) plan, 403(b) plans, State Teachers Retirement, non qualified plans
    Stocks and bonds
    Stock options, warrants, appreciation rights
    Restricted stock
    Vehicles
    Boats
    Timeshares
    Antiques
    Collections
    Jewelry
    Furniture
    Photographs and videos
    Heirlooms and keepsakes
    Family or closely held business
    Inheritances
    Gifts
    Trusts
    Lump sum payments
    Installment payments
    Debts
    Credit cards
    Student Loans
    Liens
    Mortgages
    Unsecured debt
    Judgments
    Pending or anticipated litigation
    Assets/accounts for/in name of children
    Trademarks, copyrights, patents, royalties

3. Family cash flow including child and spousal support [alimony]

  • Child Support

    Child support guidelines
    Deviation criteria
    Medical/dental/vision insurance
    Unreimbursed health care expenses
    Orthodontia
    Child care
    Modification/changes
    Extra curricular activities
    Special needs
    Other dependents
    Social security
    Life insurance
    Vehicle related
    College prep
    Arrearage
  • Alimony/Spousal Support

    From Husband to Wife
    From Wife to Husband
    Amount
    Duration
    Termination
    Remarriage
    Cohabitation
    Modifiability / changes
    Lump sum
    $1 year
    Waiver
    Security
    Cost of living
    Arrearage

3. Miscellaneous

  • Taxes

    Filing status
    Prior returns
    Current tax year
    Dependency exemptions
    Home mortgage interest and property tax deductions
    Basis in family home including depreciation
    Capital gains tax
    Timing of divorce judgment
    Exchange of returns/tax information
    Refunds
    Deficiencies
    Tax shelter
    Tax credits
    Loss carry over
  • Other items to consider

    Life insurance
    Estate planning
    Powers of attorney
    Legal fees
    Professional fees
    Social security
    Health insurance
    COBRA
    Post judgment dispute resolution
    Restoration of Wife's prior name
    Education/retraining for Husband or Wife
    Jurisdiction
    Bankruptcy
    Temporary household expenses
    Prenuptial agreements
    Related professionals