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Divorce arguments and settlements are filled with alimony, splitting assets, child custody and visitations, but many people often overlook some very important things that can have lifelong consequences. Here are a few items that you should remember during the divorce process.

How are bills going to be paid during the divorce process? Until a settlement is reached, the bills must still be paid from somewhere. It is best to try and work together to determine who is paying what bills and where the money will come from. Addressing this early on will avoid utility disruptions and save your credit score.

Speaking of bills, pull your credit report. Finding out months or years later after a divorce settlement, that you have debts in your name that you didn’t know were out there is not something you want to be dealing with. Pull your credit report at the beginning and the end of your divorce to see if there are any unknown debts in your name. You are entitled to one free credit report a year. Simply go to www.annualcreditreport.com. This is good practice for everyone to stay on top of identity theft. You also have the ability to put a freeze on your credit, which will require a creditor to contact you before they run your credit report for financing.

Gather all financial information you need while you can. These documents have a way of “mysteriously” disappearing if you don’t get them early on in the divorce process.

Get a P.O. Box. As you separate, you will start getting mail (such as letters from your attorney) that you won’t want your soon-to-be ex to see. To avoid him or her seeing things for your eyes only, get a P.O. Box as soon as possible.

Don’t fall victim to cyber spying by your spouse. The convenience of personal information is great until you are going through something like a divorce. Your spouse most likely knows (or can easily guess) your passwords to email, social media and other online accounts. It is best to create a new email account and change all of your individual passwords.

How will additional varying expenses for the children after the divorce be paid? As kids age, it seems as if the expenses increase for things such as additional coaching, training, tutoring, sports, college fees or anything else from the long list of expenses. Will the two of you share the additional expenses or is it expected to come from child support payments? Predetermining in the divorce settlement will save a lot of time and arguments in the future.

Is a cash settlement best for you? A lump sum cash settlement can seem like the best decision and in many cases, it is, but it is important to consider the tax implications. Another factor in deciding whether a lump sum payment is bet is your age at the time of divorce.  

Review existing wills, health care proxies, designation of beneficiaries of retirement assets and life insurance policies. A careful review of these items is always recommended for divorcing couples to ensure they reflect the intentions of both parties.

Under Arkansas law (§ 28-25-109), a divorce revokes all provisions in the will in favor of the former spouse unless expressly written in the will. This brings about another question, if it is revoked by state law, who gets the property? In a case such as this and the will had not been modified to reflect otherwise, the property would pass to the next person in line just as it would if the former spouse named in the will had already died. If the will names an alternate beneficiary, that person would inherit it. If no contingent beneficiary is named in the will, the property will pass under state law, as if there were no will, to the closest surviving relatives.

Additionally, a married couple that determined guardianship for their children in the unlikely event that both die before the children are the age of majority should revisit the guardianship decisions to make sure they are still agreeable to avoid any unintended consequences.

When going through a divorce, emotions, and tensions run high. When you hire Kevin Hickey Law Partners, you get more than just an attorney to file your divorce papers for you. We are here for you before, during and after the divorce.

Things are about to get better. Call us.

(479) 434-2414 Fort Smith • (479) 802-6560 NWA

In the River Valley:
502 Garrison Avenue
Fort Smith, AR 72901
Phone: (479) 434-2414
Fax: (479) 434-2415

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In Northwest Arkansas:
1750 S. Osage Springs Drive, Suite 210
Rogers, AR 72758
Phone: (479) 802-6560
Fax: (479) 802-6561

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