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Starting the next chapter of your life after a divorce can be both scary and exciting. The Judge has signed the Final Decree of Divorce, now what? Before settling into a post-divorce life, you need to remember there may be some loose ends you need to handle. Our post-divorce checklist can help make sure your t’s are crossed and the i’s are dotted.
Our post-divorce checklist will be a helpful reminder of what you need to do after your divorce. Not every item will apply to you or your specific family situation, but they may jog your memory for little details that you may not have considered.
Get a Copy of Your Divorce Decree… and Review It!
After a divorce, it is in your best interest to get a certified copy of your divorce decree and ensure you keep it handy. Your decree contains the terms of your divorce regarding child custody and visitation, child support, division of marital property, and more.
In most cases, your divorce attorney will provide you with a copy of your agreement. However, if you ever need additional copies you can obtain them from the clerk’s office at the courthouse, for a fee.
Change Your Passwords
You may have shared the passwords to personal accounts, such as social media, app-based home security, online banking, or streaming apps with your former spouse. Now that the divorce is final, you may want to change the passwords for the sake of your privacy.
Change Your Last Name on Official Documents and Accounts
If you elected to change your name back to your former or original surname after the divorce, you will need a certified copy of your decree. You can also obtain a Certificate of Name Change from the clerk’s office. These two documents serve as proof of the name restoration. Take the certified order to change your name to the social security office, department of public safety, bank, and anywhere else changes may need to be made.
Bank Account and Credit Cards
Make sure that all joint accounts, including credit cards and store accounts, are closed.
Open new accounts that are entirely under your name. Experts recommend finding accounts that offer high-interest savings options. In addition to new bank accounts, it’s important to update beneficiaries on your accounts. By failing to do so you run the risk of your former spouse receiving your retirement and other assets should you pass away.
Update Your List of Important Contacts
If your ex was listed as an emergency contact, you may want to update this information. In addition, update your child/children’s school with you and your former spouse’s most current contact information such as phone numbers and addresses. In some cases, schools may request a copy of your divorce decree.
Make Sure that Your Insurance is in Place
Be sure to carefully review all insurance policies—home, car, life, and health. It is important to pay attention to the list of assets you have in your homeowner’s policy, such as jewelry, collectibles, artwork, and other valuables your spouse may have received in the divorce settlement.
Execute and File the Deeds
If you and your former spouse owned real estate together, it is important to ensure all necessary deeds (often Special Warranty Deeds and Deeds of Trust to Secure Assumption) are executed and filed with the county clerk’s office. You do not want to use quitclaim deeds. It is important you speak with your attorney and have them assist you in preparing the proper closing documents.
Take Care of Title Transfers for Vehicles
If you and your spouse jointly owned a vehicle both of your names are likely on the title. Make sure to take care of title transfers, registration, license plates, insurance, and any tax issues.
Plan for the New Parenting Arrangement
Your parenting arrangement and child support will be outlined in your divorce decree. To reduce potential conflict over the children, do your best to stick with the new arrangement in the early days following your divorce. You can certainly agree to deviate from the order by agreement, as necessary for the parents and child, but it is a good idea to keep a regular routine for the children.
You know your former spouse better than anyone. If you find yourself struggling to co-parent, here are a couple of things that you can do to help:
- Keep a journal with small entries regarding when the kids are spending time with you and with the other parent. You can also use this journal to record any significant events, disputes, or statements with your former spouse. Make sure that this is located in a discrete location where your child/ children aren’t able to locate it.
- Initiate a shared calendar, or use a co-parenting app, in which both parents can be informed of what is happening in their children’s lives.
Navigating a parenting relationship with a former spouse comes with its own set of challenges. This is especially true in the early days following a separation where you both are becoming accustomed to a new normal. This includes less time spent with your children and adjusting to new parenting time schedules. However, it is important to remind yourself and your former spouse to create an environment in which your children may thrive
Create Your Own Post-Divorce Checklist
The list we have provided is only for guidance and is pretty generalized. In order to be prepared for this transition in your life, it is essential for you to make a post-divorce checklist that best suits your situation.
Take Care of Yourself
A divorce is a hard process to get through. It doesn’t matter how long you were married to your former spouse, separating your life from someone is always a difficult transition in your life. Therefore, it is essential that you prioritize yourself- physically, mentally, and spiritually. Take care of your needs, as when you pour into your cup, you
are capable of pouring into the cups of the people you love.
Considering Divorce? We Can Help.
If you find yourself needing help with child support, visitation or custody, contact our family attorneys. Our attorneys are available to assist you in the following counties:
Contact us today. We care and we can help.