A key part of estate planning is deciding who will be your child’s guardian if you pass away while that child is still a minor. Your peace of mind hinges on the knowledge that they’ll be taken care of.
Naturally, if you’re married, you probably just assume that your spouse will take care of your child on their own. Even if you get divorced, you may still assume that your ex is the best choice. That may be true, and it is the most likely outcome.
However, you have to consider the child’s best interests and the reasons for the divorce. They could make you rethink guardianship and perhaps name someone else to take on this role after you pass away, even if your ex is still alive.
For instance, perhaps you think that your ex is unfit to be a parent. During the divorce, you pressed for sole custody using those grounds. Does it really make sense for your child to go live with their unfit other parent after you die? That outcome may be avoided with some forethought and action.
Some of the reasons that your spouse may be unfit could include:
- Problems with substance abuse
- A serious criminal record
- A history of abuse toward you and the child
- Serious medical or mental disorders
All these issues could factor into your naming some other guardian to keep your child safe and give them the best possible living situation. That’s something you should consider when you move forward with your estate planning. You need to know what options you have to ensure that your child is protected if you are no longer around.