Unless you’ve gone through a divorce before, it’s not very clear what you’re suppose to do after the divorce is final. You may be counting down to that marked day on the calendar when your divorce is final, and thinking all the conflict, cost and collateral damage will be over. While you’re waiting for that day to arrive you may dream of the day when it’s over and you can take a long vacation by the beach, relaxing and soaking up the sun. Why not! You certainly deserve a dream vacation after surviving the grueling process.
The truth is no two marriages are alike. Just like no two divorces are alike. The divorce process will be similar no matter where you live. Most divorces can be very difficult and hard to deal with. Anyone going through a divorce will tell you it is like being on a roller coaster for a while, but it does get better after your divorce is over and you begin to create your separate life.
To keep moving forward after your divorce, the first step is to get organized. Gather all your bills, a calculator, a pencil, a calendar, your checkbook and your divorce judgement.
Blueprint Your Divorce Judgement
Your divorce judgement says what is supposed to happen, but you are responsible for making it happen. To make matters more complicated, there is not one place to go to get it all done. You must separate your bank accounts, deal with your debt, and divide up your stuff. That means you are the one to cancel credit cards, fill out forms, request name and address changes, and gather what is needed from multiple offices, websites, and do whatever it takes to re-establish yourself as a separate entity.
Here is a checklist of important things to do to start separating your life after your divorce:
To-Do List After Your Divorce
- Change your name. If you plan to change your last name, you’ll need to get a certified copy of your divorce judgement immediately. Once you have it, change your name everywhere! Change your name on your driver’s license, your social security card, all your credit cards and bank statements, health insurance, investment accounts, insurance policies.
- Make a plan. Go through your divorce judgement and put deadlines in your calendar for all the important dates! Add to your list the things that are not in your judgement. Mark the calendar when money will be transferred to your accounts from retirement and other accounts, when your spouse is supposed to pay off any bills that are in your name and follow up to see it happened.
- Change passwords. Change your passwords on all your devices for personal email, business, banking and social media accounts.
- Cancel joint bank accounts. Cancel joint credit cards. If you still share a balance on a joint credit card with your ex, transfer that portion of any joint balances onto their own credit card, change authorized user access, and change beneficiary designation on your life insurance, 401(k)s, and any other with designated beneficiary
- List your property. Refinance the mortgage on the marital home and get a quitclaim deed to re-title your property. Gather all the transfer forms like titles to vehicles before the divorce. Then you’ll be ready to send them after your divorce is final.
- Make a new Will. and power of attorney for property and healthcare
- Get healthcare. If you don’t have your own health insurance when you get divorced, be sure to put this as a priority. There are deadlines that may apply for certain policies.
- Update kids contacts. List you and your former spouse’s names as contacts with your children’s schools and any other activities they are enrolled in at outside of school and church.
Although divorce proceedings may be over, the process to separate everything is just beginning. As the head of the household, it’s up to you to make sure that your entire family’s needs are being met. To do that, you need to be extremely diligent when it comes to your time and money management basics. It’s tempting to want to avoid thinking about more paperwork after your divorce is finalized. But the work you do after your divorce may be more important than everything leading up to it.
ASK FOR HELP
Dealing with your divorce may seem impossible, but you do not have to go it alone. Our experienced attorneys are here to help if you need it. Call for a private consultation with our family law attorney and get straight answers to all your questions. Contact the Family Law Firm of C.E. Borman & Associates at 979-846-4090 for an appointment.