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Changing Your Estate Plan After DivorceReviewing and updating your estate planning documents should be one of your top priorities after completing your divorce. Your documents likely name your former spouse as your primary beneficiary upon your death, as well as giving him or her power of attorney in case you are incapacitated. If you do not have an estate plan, it is vital that you create one. A living trust or will can dictate what actions should be taken after your death or incapacitation and protect your surviving children.

Clear Intentions

Failing to update your estate plan does not mean your former spouse will reap the benefits. A probate court or your family members can surmise that you did not intend to leave your estate to your former spouse or give him or her decision-making powers over you. However, your survivors may need a lengthy legal battle to determine what your intentions were. By updating the documents as needed, you are sparing your family from having to fight for your estate.

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The Benefits and Faults of Legal SeparationDivorce is a final and absolute option for a marriage that is not working. Once a spouse asks for divorce, there is little chance for reconciliation in the marriage. Couples who hesitate to take the final step of divorce may choose to separate instead. Separation is not advised for couples who already believe they will ultimately divorce. However, it may be helpful for those who are uncertain about whether they want divorce but feel they need time away from each other. There is an important distinction between merely physically separating and obtaining a legal separation. A legal separation is useful, especially when children are part of the marriage.

Obtaining a Legal Separation

Though it is not ending the marriage, a legal separation requires going through several steps that are similar to a divorce. The process starts by filing a petition for legal separation and serving it to the other spouse. The spouses will then attend a court hearing, where a judge will decide whether to grant the separation. From there, spouses can negotiate the terms of their separation agreement. Spouses must live apart in order to qualify, which most likely requires separate addresses. In some cases, spouses can live in the same residence but show they have created separate living areas with minimal interaction.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_Foster-Care-Adoption-300x220.jpgAccording to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, more than half of the children adopted while in the foster care system are adopted by their foster parents. The union often makes sense because:

  • A foster child is seeking a sense of permanence; and
  • Foster parents may have developed a bond with the child.

There are legal advantages to adopting your foster child, as opposed to a child you have no experience with. Many of the requirements for being an adoptive parent have already been established as a foster parent. Before you adopt your foster child, you need to understand the differences between foster care and adoption and complications that may arise.

Requirements

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b2ap3_thumbnail_Intercountry-Adoption-Hague-Convention-300x200.jpgThe rigorous process of adopting a child becomes more complex when the child lives in another country. Intercountry adoption requires coordination between state and federal adoption laws and the laws of the country where the child lives. The process can take several years to complete, with the foreign country’s laws being the largest variable. To standardize intercountry adoption and create greater transparency, a group of nations established the Hague Convention on the Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption. The U.S. is one of more than 80 countries participating in the convention. Adopting a child from a Hague Convention country can differ from the process in a non-Hague country.

Intercountry Adoption

The steps when adopting a child from a foreign country are largely the same, regardless of whether the country is a member of the Hague Convention:

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Posted on in Family Law

1. Don't Force It

My son age sixteen put the key in the door and couldn't open the lock. What did he do? He got frustrated and kicked at the door. Result: he hit the key instead and broke it off in the lock, End: hired a locksmith. Don't force it. Take a step back and contemplate the machine. Sit down and quietly turn over the problem in your mind. Noodle on it. Even overnight. The solution will come. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

2. Righty Tighty Lefty Loosey

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