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Navigating Divorce and Power of Attorney

On Behalf of | Dec 19, 2023 | Divorce

Divorce is undeniably a challenging chapter in anyone’s life. Amid the emotional turmoil, it’s crucial to contemplate the legal concerns involved that may impact your financial security, especially when it comes to matters as significant as a Power of Attorney (POA).

A Power of Attorney is a legal document that grants someone legal authority to act on behalf of someone else, usually due to incapacity. Most married couples designate their spouse as a POA agent to manage their affairs if they’re unable to do so. But what happens if you get divorced and your former spouse is your POA?

Can Power of Attorney be retained during divorce?

Divorcing couples may wonder if their ex-spouse will retain POA authority during their divorce. According to Section 709.2109(2)(b) of the Florida Statutes, a spouse’s authority granted under a Power of Attorney terminates when a petition for dissolution of marriage is filed with the Clerk of Court. This legal safeguard is instrumental in protecting individuals from unauthorized use of their POA authority during tumultuous divorce proceedings.

You can revoke your spouse’s POA during divorce

Your spouse’s authority granted under POA terminates when you file for a divorce. However, the termination is not effective if your spouse isn’t explicitly aware of it. Therefore, according to the law, if your soon-to-be ex-spouse exercises the authority granted under POA, it may be perceived as acting in good faith.

To make the termination of Power of Attorney effective, you have to send your soon-to-be ex a formal written notice via certified mail or email, explicitly stating the revocation. This step serves as a concrete legal measure to help prevent any misuse of authority. Failing to do so could result in the ex-spouse making significant decisions that may not align with your interests.

How can you prevent financial abuse during divorce?

Another concern you may have as your divorce is underway is the potential for financial abuse. If a judge has not explicitly told your ex spouse that they can’t make specific efforts that could impact your finances, you can seek a temporary injunction to prevent extraordinary financial transactions, cancellation of insurance policies, asset concealment or sales if you are concerned that your spouse is going to engage in misconduct during your divorce process.

The insights highlighted above only provide a brief overview of how to secure your financial interests during a divorce. You can boost your odds of a successful divorce by enlisting legal counsel to help you navigate the legal process and safeguard your interests.