After a divorce, take these steps to get your affairs in order

Divorce is a huge transition. It is not an understatement to say that a newly divorced person will have to adapt to a whole new way of life. In addition to the emotional and lifestyle changes that come with a divorce, there are also a whole host of legal and financial complications.

After a divorce, it is important to take proactive steps to get your affairs in order. As soon as possible after your divorce is finalized, consider taking the following actions:

  • Fix your financial accounts: Any shared bank accounts should be cancelled and the proceeds distributed pursuant to the property division order. The same goes for any joint debts or credit card accounts.
  • Update your estate plan: Revoke your old will or trust that names your ex-spouse and draft a new one. It is important to do this quickly, especially if you have children who will need to be provided for if you pass away. At the same time, remove your ex-spouse as the beneficiary of your life insurance policy and retirement accounts and choose someone new.
  • Get new medical insurance: If you were previously covered by your spouse's employer-sponsored health insurance policy, you will not be able to continue that coverage after the divorce is finalized. You will likely be eligible for short-term COBRA coverage, but, because COBRA is so expensive, it is a good idea to find new medical insurance as soon as possible.
  • Update property titles: Update your car titles and automobile insurance policies to reflect the new ownership. If you have other titled property - like boats, motor homes, ATVs, etc - be sure to update those, too.
  • Change your name: If you decided to change your name when you got married, you may want to change it back after your divorce. If you choose to take this path, you'll need to update your voter registration, passport, driver's license and other important documents.
  • Update your address: If you've moved out of your former residence as part of the divorce, you'll need to make the appropriate changes for your bills, paychecks, utilities, licenses and friends.

Of course, these are just a few of the logistical concerns that become relevant after a divorce. In addition to these things, take some time to sort out the bigger-picture issues like establishing financial and emotional wellness. Many people find it helpful to work with a financial planner and to visit a therapist after divorce.

If you have any questions about how to handle your transition from being married to being single, your divorce attorney will be able to help you make a plan for moving forward.  Schedule an appointment to speak to one of our attorneys so that we can update your estate planning and other documents following your divorce.