Your Post-Divorce Checklist
We get it – you’ve spent months or maybe even years dealing with lawyers and court dates, reading over motions and draft agreements and praying for all of it to finally come to an end. So, it’s understandable that the last thing you want to do once your divorce is finalized is deal with all of that again!
It’s perfectly normal to feel like you need a break once you’ve finally settled your divorce, but unfortunately, there are a few other matters that one must take care of before putting it all behind you!
Compliance with your Separation Agreement or Judgment: when your divorce is finalized, it is crucial to understand all of your obligations and your deadlines for performing same. Every Separation Agreement or Judgment will contain various obligations that the parties must complete within a specified time period. Some examples of such are:
- Having a Quitclaim Deed drafted to transfer one parties’ interest in the marital home or other real estate
- Listing the marital home or other real estate for sale
- Transferring the title of a motor vehicle
- Hiring a QDRO attorney to divide retirement assets
- Changing the beneficiary designation on retirement assets
- Removing one spouses’ name from household bills or joint credit cards
- Dividing and closing joint accounts
- Paying off joint debts
- Obtaining a life insurance policy and naming your former spouse as the beneficiary
- Doing a walk-through of the marital home & dividing personal property
If you are unsure what your obligations are under your Agreement or Judgment, please speak with an attorney about this immediately! Not following through on your obligations in accordance with your Agreement or Judgment can have serious consequences.
Your Estate Plan: Again, we understand, you probably don’t want to step into another lawyer’s office for the next twenty years after going through the seemingly never-ending process of divorce. However, it is crucial to update your estate plan after your divorce has been finalized. This is NOT something you should put off to the side as there could be serious consequences if you wait too long.
It’s likely that you listed your former spouse as your Health Care Proxy, Power of Attorney and Personal Representative in your will. If you no longer wish to have your former spouse listed as such, it’s important to get new estate planning documents drafted and executed as soon as possible. While we hope you won’t need these documents for many years to come, it’s so important to have them at the ready just in case!
Name and/or Address Change: If you requested to change your name, this is something you probably want to get out of the way quickly. If your address has changed, you should definitely make sure you inform the appropriate institutions right away. When changing your name, you should start with the social security office, but it’s important not to forget the other places you need to change your name and/or address:
- US Passport Office
- Department of Motor Vehicles
- Voter Registration
- Bank, investment and retirement accounts
- Credit cards
- Motor Vehicle Titles
- Insurance Policies
Financial Planning: Look, it’s a given that your finances will look much different post-divorce and while it’s never fun, meeting with a financial advisor and perhaps, an accountant, is definitely recommended. It’s important that you set a new budget and determine how much you need to save for retirement. Also, if you have any court-ordered support payments, it’s crucial that you account for those as well. To avoid getting into trouble later on, it’s best that you schedule a meeting with an experienced financial adviser. Your divorce attorney can probably even recommend a few names for you.