What many people don’t realize is that, even though your divorce judgment says who gets what after your divorce, the judgment alone doesn’t automatically divide everything up. You have to do that yourself!
Unless you’ve been through a divorce before, it’s not instantly obvious what you’re supposed to do after your divorce is done to make sure everything is separated properly. The judge doesn’t give you a checklist along with your divorce judgment and tell you, “Make sure you do these things … now!”
What makes things even more complicated is that there isn’t just one place you can go and take care of all of the picky details involved in separating your life from your ex’s life. You have to tromp around to multiple offices, visit multiple websites, and fill out mountains of forms in order to divide your finances, change your name, and do whatever else it takes to re-establish yourself as a separate entity.
To make things a little easier, here is a list put together by Terry Gaspard of some of the most important things you are going to need to do after your divorce is done, to make sure you can move into your new life with confidence.
Go through your divorce judgment and put deadlines in your calendar for any important dates now!
Secure your own health insurance (or remove your spouse from your health insurance policy).
Separate all of your bank and investment accounts.
Close all joint credit cards and remove your spouse’s name as an authorized user from all of your credit cards.
Make sure that any money that is supposed to be transferred from a retirement account actually gets transferred.
Refinance the mortgage on the marital home, and get a quitclaim deed to re-title your property.
Re-title your automobile(s) to be in separate names.
Change the beneficiary designations on your life insurance, 401(k)s, and any other financial instrument that has a designated beneficiary.
Make a new will.
Make sure you and your spouse are both listed as contacts with your kids’ schools and any activity they are enrolled in.
Set up a joint calendar with your spouse to keep track of their activities.
If you haven’t already done so, change all of your passwords.
BONUS TIP: If you are changing your name, get a certified copy of your divorce judgment immediately! You will need it. Also, remember to change your name everywhere! That includes on your driver’s license, your social security card, all of your credit cards, all of your bank and investment accounts, and everywhere else your name is listed. (Yes. It’s a process!)
If you or someone you know could benefit from assistance in decision making during a divorce, contact Falmouth Mediation at 508-566-4159 for a free, no-obligation, private, confidential consultation. We will be happy to discuss the key details of your situation, address any concerns, and help you decide if divorce mediation would be beneficial.