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January is Life Management Time for Families in Transition

A new year offers hope for new beginnings for families in a transition phase, and Southlake residents are no different. Recently divorced people, parents and expecting parents need to make time to get their house in order, literally and figuratively, with a life management checklist and the right professionals to help when necessary. Divorce in Southlake is a significant event, and so is having a new baby and getting remarried. Especially for families with significant life events taking place around the holidays, it can be easy to forget some important life details needing prompt attention before being overlooked. Please start the habit of making an annual life management checklist and learn to appreciate the benefits of smart planning for the family.  

It is critical to update important documents, create new estate plans, modify or terminate child support, and make plans for the growth and needs of children. Successful parents think and plan well in advance, knowing just about anything can happen along the path of life and raising happy and productive kids. 

Organization is important for good parenting. Part of being organized is notifying people who need to know certain information should they need to take action. Let people know if you have granted them power of attorney authority and under what circumstances you expect them to make decisions. For example, let people know where the important documents are located. Some keep copies of important documents with their attorney, and it is important to let important people know the name and contact information for the attorney or anyone else who needs to be identified in the case of a serious life event.  

Fatherly.com: 8 Tips to Help You Become a More Organized Parent

Important Updates for the Recently Divorced

Recently divorced people should keep a list of every financial interest and be familiar with accounts and documentation, making sure that everything is updated to reflect a new marital status and name change if it applies.  

Life Management Checklist & Common Post-Divorce Updates:

  • Beneficiaries on life insurance; 
  • HIPPA releases at medical offices; 
  • Check bank accounts; 
  • Run credit reports; 
  • Update life insurance policies; 
  • Remove ex-spouses from life 360 tracking apps; 
  • Meet with your financial planner; 
  • Use a qualified CPA; 
  • Verify that the correct Final Order is on file with the child’s school; 
  • Make sure ex-spouses are no longer authorized users on any bank accounts, and  
  • Update all passwords.

Child Support Modifications

Child support can be modified every three years as a general rule, and modification cases can be filed when the prior court order needs to be updated to reflect a change in the income and net resources of the child support obligor. Especially in 2022, with so many people changing jobs since 2020, many parents receiving child support payments need a child support modification. In certain situations, it is also possible to modify child support before three years have passed since the last court order. It is important to seek legal advice when reviewing your child support situation and get professional advise on different rights and options.  

Special Needs Trusts

Parents of children with special needs such as autism, medical, physical, mental, and other disabilities, need special help and care for their children, young and adult. Where there is court-ordered support for a child with special needs, the Court can designate a special needs trust to receive direct support payments for the benefit of the special needs child.  

Barrows Firm Article: Special needs Children and Divorce

Estate Planning and Trusts

Estate planning is for everyone, and that includes all of us. Whether it is your first time having a will or set of power of attorney documents prepared, or you need to make an update after a divorce or the addition or loss of a family member, January is a good time to take stock of life and get things in order while working through the 2022 life management checklist.  

Understand that anyone who dies without a will or a trust is allowing the State of Texas to take control of and distribute your assets by statutory construction. Don’t let that happen. Get a proper will and estate planning documents like a living trust, power of attorney documents, and other trusts. Depending on the situation, a Texas Board of Legal Specialization-Board-Certified trust attorney may be needed for complex and high net worth management issues.  

Nerdwallet: Estate Planning, A 7-Step Checklist of the Basics

New Babies and Adopted Children 

After bringing home a newborn baby or adopted child, don’t forget to make an appointment to update important documents. New parents are often busy with new responsibilities, but it is crucial to remember to plan for the future of your children and update wills, estate plans, and insurance plans.   

Learn more by contacting Barrows Firm in Southlake at (817) 481-1583 or visit www.barrowsfirm.com