Congratulations, your divorce finally came to an end! No more deadlines to meet, papers to file, or no more time waiting for all of it to be over. However, there is still a lot of work that needs to be done to officially move on and begin a new chapter in life.
The following is a checklist of certain things you still need to get done after your divorce is finalized:
- Review your divorce decree – While it may be the last thing on your mind, you must read—and re-read—your divorce decree in order to create a list of items you and your ex-spouse still need satisfy. Most of these things can be completed in less than a month, if not sooner. Also make a calendar to have a visual representation on when certain payments are due, such as alimony and child support.
- Cancel joint accounts and create new ones – Close all the accounts you share with your ex-spouse right away. Joint accounts which stay open can leave you vulnerable to overdrafts or excessive charges on your credit card, if your ex-spouse wants to do so. Even before you close these accounts, it is wise to open a separate credit card account in order to make small purchases and start building your credit score.
- Update your insurance coverage – Since most couples use the same company and agent for their automobile, home, and life insurance, call your agent to discuss whether you can obtain your own insurance policies. Additionally, these accounts may have your ex-spouse as a beneficiary, so make sure to change the beneficiary to your children, siblings, relatives, or close friends. Take off your ex-spouse’s name of your health insurance by notifying your HR of the divorce. If you have children, whose insurance plan will cover them should’ve been already discussed during the divorce proceedings.
- Create a new estate plan – Create or update your will, trusts, and power of attorney directives to reflect your divorce and avoid leaving your entire estate to your ex-spouse. Additionally, these estate planning documents prevents a judge and even your own family members from making important decisions for you.
- Contact an accountant to discuss your taxes – Now that you are divorced, you no longer can file as married. Reach out to an accountant or tax preparer to help you resolve any tax issues that arise. In most cases, taxes are quite complex the year of a divorce.
- Change names of deeds and titles – Quitclaim deeds are often used to transfer property between parties involved in a divorce. Ensure you and/or your ex-spouse transfers any ownership and remove your ex-spouse’s name or yours from the mortgage according to the divorce decree. Also change the titles of your vehicles to reflect new ownership according to the decree.
- Change your name – If you want to change your name back to your maiden name, you must do so at the Social Security Office. You must bring a certified copy of the divorce order and identification, such as your current driver’s license or passport. Your name must be changed back to your maiden name on your divorce decree. Once this is done, notify all creditors of the change.
Taking care of these things sooner than later can help you prevent future headaches. Once everything is complete, you can finally breathe a sigh of relief.
For more information on what needs to be done after divorce, contact our San Diego family law attorneys at Cage & Miles, LLP today.