1. Make sure you have the originals of deeds, notes, car titles and other documents, (which should be in your possession) and place them in a safe deposit box.
2. If you move to another state, your prior decree is enforceable under the full faith and credit provisions of the United States Constitution.
3. In many states, child visitation cannot be denied because support payments are not being made and conversely support payments cannot be withheld because of a denial of visitation.
4. Dissolution decrees are generally enforceable by contempt proceedings, attachment of property or garnishment.
5. When civil enforcement of child support is not practical, redress may be had to criminal enforcement through the District Attorney or the Uniform Reciprocal Enforcement of Support Act.
6. “Child snatching or kidnapping” is punishable by imprisonment in virtually every state and rarely does the party taking the child ever obtain legal custody.
7. Custody, child support and spousal support are generally capable of being modified following a final decree.
8. Unless the court orders provide to the contrary, beneficiaries on insurance policies should be checked and changed where needed. If minor children receive life insurance proceeds, the other parent will be trustee for such funds unless special provisions are made.
9. You should immediately consider changing your Will. Contact your probate attorney for advice.
10. Spousal support for the support of an ex-spouse and child support are not tax deductible to the paying spouse.
11. If you have a joint passport, have a new one issued for yourself and your children.
12. You may have liability for some charges made on joint credit cards, so all charge cards should be retrieved if possible.
13. Contempt of court for failure to make court ordered support payments or failure to permit court ordered visitation may involve being jailed.
14. Contract rights of third parties are not usually affected by a decree of divorce. So, if you were obligated to a bank, finance company, etc., before the divorce, you are still obligated even though your ex-spouse has been ordered to pay same.
15. In California, a live-in boy friend or girlfriend can be considered as grounds for a reduction, change or termination of spousal support.
16. In the event of the death of the custodial parent, the other parent usually gets custody even though your Will may provide to the contrary.
17. Without a proper estate plan, property that goes to your children may be controlled by your ex-spouse.
18. In California, a child may express a preference as to which parent the child wishes to live. The court is not bound by this preference but will give the preference some weight in reaching a decision.
19. All support payments should be by check. A signed and dated receipt should be obtained for cash payments. The receiving party should keep a very accurate record of all support payments received.
20. Gifts and money provided to children directly do not count as child support absent a signed, written agreement from the receiving spouse that these may be deducted from ongoing support.
21. Child support payments generally do not cease during visitation periods even though such periods may be lengthy. The order must specifically state that a reduction is allowed for a reduction or cessation of support during visitation.
22. Any deviation from the terms of a court decree agreed upon by you and your ex-spouse should be reduced to writing and signed by both parties.