You hear a lot about planning your estate early so that your family knows exactly what to do should you die. This is even more crucial if you are currently divorcing and setting up child custody and visitation arrangements. Should you pass away before your child turns 18 (and is thus no longer subject to custody and visitation), you need to be sure the child is cared for well. Otherwise, the child could end up in circumstances that are unstable and unsuitable.
Amicable Doesn't Mean Obvious
If the divorce is amicable, and you and your ex-spouse are in agreement over where the child will normally live and what visitation will be like, you might think the obvious solution would be for your ex to take in the child. In most cases, that would be the easiest solution. But if the child needs to attend a school that offers a specific special-needs program, for example, that agreement would work only if your ex lived in the same town as you, or if he or she lived in a town where the schools offered similar programs. If going to live with your ex would mean not having that special-needs schooling, that would be bad for your child.
Another possibility is that your ex might be unable to care for the child properly. For example, if he or she has to move around a lot for work. That could prove too unstable for the child.
It is possible to work out a couple of different scenarios as you plan your estate. For example, maybe your ex has to move around for another year but will be returning to your town after that and will stay in one place. You can have your estate plan offer one child custody plan for the first year and then state that if you die after that, your ex will be able to care for the child.
Accommodating Supervised Visitation Schedules
If the divorce isn't amicable -- in fact if your child's visits with your ex will be supervised -- then you really need to work out child custody arrangements in the event of your death. Not only will that stop a judge from mistakenly assigning custody to the spouse who has to be supervised, but it will also allow you to choose a caretaker for your child who will abide by the schedule and ensure proper supervision.
Finding Willing People
Finally, working out where your child will go should you die ensures that you know the child will be cared for by someone who is willing to do it. Never assume that family will take the child in. It sounds mean, but not all family members may be willing to take on the costs and time involved in raising a child.
If you want your child to have the best possible upbringing should you die after your divorce, get that child-custody plan into place when you plan your estate. Don't let this slide, for the sake of your child. Contact a lawyer like Patricia L Riddick PLLC Atty for more information and assistance.Share