The divorce is finally over with. You breathe a sigh of relief. No more papers to file, no more documents to complete, no more red tape. Well... not quite. Even after the judgment is entered, there are certain steps that you must take to tie up loose ends and make sure that the financial and legal aspects of your life reflect your newly single status. And if you have children, you and your ex-spouse will still need to cooperate for their benefit.
The following checklist can serve as a helpful reminder of what to do after a divorce. Not every item below may apply to you, but there are surely some listed tasks that require your immediate attention.
What to Do After a Divorce: A Checklist
____ Divide all property as set forth in the divorce decree.
____ Execute a quitclaim deed to transfer title to real property to your former spouse, and/or make sure that your ex-spouse does the same, as required by the divorce decree.
____ Change the titles to your motor vehicles to reflect the ownership as set forth in the divorce decree.
____ Notify your auto insurer of any changes in automobile drivers, ownership, and addresses.
____ Make sure that your name has been removed from any debts or loans that are no longer your responsibility.
____ If you change your name (such as by reverting to your maiden name) as a result of the divorce, notify all of your creditors of the change.
____ If you move, notify all of your creditors of your change of address.
____ Notify the Social Security Administration of your name change.
____ Apply for a driver's license with your new name on it.
____ Apply for a driver's license with your new address on it.
____ Change your name on your bank accounts and checks, or open new accounts in your name only.
____ Change your address on your bank accounts and checks.
____ Apply for credit in your own name.
____ Remove your former spouse's name from your lease or mortgage.
____ Change the beneficiary on your life insurance policy, if permissible under the divorce decree.
____ Obtain life insurance naming your former spouse and/or children as beneficiaries to ensure continued support if you should die, if required by the divorce decree.
____ Write a new will.
____ Execute all necessary COBRA documents to ensure continued health insurance coverage, or make sure that your ex-spouse has done the same.
____ Make sure that the Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) is entered and implemented, if required under the divorce decree.
____ Take all other actions required by the divorce decree.
____ Pay all support when due.
____ If you change jobs, notify your new employer of any court-ordered support, if required by law to do so, to effectuate continued automatic withholding.
____ Keep your scheduled visitation times with your children.
Post Divorce Questions? An Attorney Can Help
Even though your divorce is finalized, it may take a while for you to adjust to your new life. After reading through this article, you'll likely want more information about what to do after your divorce is finalized, and you also may need to adjust alimony, child support, or custody. Your best option is to speak with an experienced divorce law attorney, who can help you make the right decisions.