Greetings. The “legal” downfalls of divorce are numerous and can vary on a case by case analysis. The main two issues that most people deal with though are that they lose the rights to equitable distribution and alimony when the divorce judgment is entered if they have not resolved the issues prior to the divorce in a separation agreement or filed a complaint requesting alimony.
He can always change his life insurance beneficiary. I would recommend that you get an agreement in a separation agreement for him to keep you as the beneficiary. Yes, divorce affects your rights to his retirement plans by cutting them off. If you need to retain rights to his retirement plan, he can only give you those rights in a separation agreement and later in a QDRO. If he is promising you part of his retirement, he may not be able to keep the promise even if he intends to because the retirement plan has rules it must follow which may not allow him to give you any of the funds. It is best when retirement assets are at issues AT ALL for you to speak with an attorney and have them safeguard those for you.
It is unlikely that you can deal with all the issues you have raised in the post by yourself - simply because they are difficult issues. You need a separation agreement. If you lose out on retirement and life insurance, which you thought you bargained for, then the attorney fees will seem small in comparison. Also, if you agree, then you may only need one flat fee attorney to draft everything for you. Best of luck.
Janet L. Fritts
Attorney with Rosen Divorce
4101 Lake Boone Trail, Suite 500
Raleigh, North Carolina 27607
919.787.6668 main phone
919.256.1665 direct fax
10925 David Taylor Drive, Suite 100
Charlotte, North Carolina 28262
704.644.2831 main voice
704.307.4595 main fax
The response posted above is based upon the limited factual information made available and is not intended as a full and complete response to the question. The only reliable manner to obtain complete and adequate legal advice is to consult with an attorney, fully explain your situation, and allow the attorney sufficient opportunity to research the applicable law and facts required to render an accurate opinion. The basic information provided above is intended as a public service but a full discussion with an attorney should be undertaken before taking any action.