If you’ve recently completed the divorce process, you may be surprised to learn that there are still a few steps to take before everything is as it should be. Now that you have a final judgment or divorce decree, you will need to put the changes you worked so hard for into effect.
Here are a few items you might still need to handle:
Make any property transfers required by the decree. If you are dividing retirement accounts, be sure to submit your qualified domestic relations order (QDRO) to the plan administrators.
Arrange for any insurance required by the decree, including health insurance for the kids and life insurance for you.
Arrange auto-payment of child support and alimony, as appropriate.
Close any joint accounts. If you can’t close the account, try to get it put solely in your name and remove your ex’s access to the account.
If you are changing your name as a result of the divorce, start by taking or mailing a certified copy of your divorce decree to the Social Security Administration, the Department of Motor Vehicles and, to change a name on a passport, the U.S. Department of State. Once these are done, it’s fairly straightforward to get your name changed on your bank accounts, credit cards and other documents.
Change your beneficiaries on your retirement accounts, pensions, annuities, brokerage accounts and life insurance policies so your ex is no longer the beneficiary.
Update your will and estate plan so your ex is no longer the main beneficiary and/or the person designated in powers of attorney or healthcare directives.
If possible, remove your ex from the house title and mortgage – or get your name removed. You may need to refinance in order to do this, but it’s well worth the effort to limit your exposure to collections and foreclosure caused by your ex.
Forward your mail or your ex’s mail to the new address.
Update your homeowners or rental policy to reflect your solo status.
Take your ex off your car title and auto insurance.
There may be other administrative steps you need to take in order to comply with your agreement. You may also find it helpful to set up a shared calendar with your ex and your children, if appropriate, and begin planning for your parenting time.
Finally, take a deep breath and give a sigh of relief. Once you’ve put everything in place to comply with your divorce decree, you can relax for a moment an reflect on getting through your divorce.