Parents of minor children in the throes of a legal dispute over child custody often find it difficult to reach common ground. Frequently, not only is the physical custody of the minor child in controversy but also one the four major areas of legal custody are as well. Issues surrounding the child's education, religious upbringing, extra-curricular activities, and medical care provide endless fodder for potential legal disagreements and post-judgment shenanigans. Sure, it's cliché, but the party that usually suffers the most in the aftermath are the kids.
Too often in domestic relations disputes involving children, parents are short-sighted. Many parents unwittingly mortgage their children's long-term financial standing for the immediacy of their legal goals. And although big-ticket items like parenting plans, visitation schedules, and child support are contemplated by the parties, even after the combined adjusted gross income of mom and dad are calculated to determine the support numbers, frequently what will happen in the event of the demise of the custodial or non-custodial parent goes undiscussed.
Obviously, the judge has a tough enough job refereeing the court room action to wax poetic about the importance of protecting your child's financial interests. And quite frankly, on the topic, most jurists are simply out of their depth. And so when it comes to the financial future of your child, many lawyers simply give the topic a wide berth. But planning for little Johnnie's future doesn't have to be rocket science when in this instance the simplest solution is perhaps the best solution, life insurance.
If you are a custodial parent receiving child support from a non-custodial parent, have you ever wondered what would happen if the non-custodial parent dies before your minor child or children turn eighteen? Or vice versa? Don't worry, you're probably not alone. Many parents don't think about their children's financial standing beyond a child support award, but they should. This topic should be at the forefront of every parent's mind. “What will happen to our children if they lose one of their parent's incomes?” The answer may be too scary for most to consider. But there is a fix!
Whether in an incorporated marital settlement agreement, pre-nuptial agreement, mediation, or gentleman/woman's agreement, life insurance for the benefit of the children should be a non-negotiable. The benefits for you and your kids are too numerous to cover here but depending on the insurance product there is almost nothing but upside regardless of your coverage selection.
The types of life insurance include term, universal and whole life. Frequently term is the most inexpensive plan but universal and whole are not without their perks. Some whole and universal plans can be borrowed against in the event of family or medical emergencies and accumulate equity over time. With whole life insurance, depending on your death benefit, not only will your children be taken care of in the event of your untimely death, but you can build equity as the policy matures. And you decide who your insurance beneficiaries are. A win, win for every family.
So, parents, remember, build generational wealth, and don't forget to protect your kids' legal and financial interests.
By Attorney Genghis X. Shakhan