From start to finish, the divorce process can be a long journey. That’s why when a divorce decree is entered, it is an incredible relief and an opportunity to move in your new direction. While you can certainly celebrate, it is important to understand that there is work to be done following your divorce. For your benefit, we have created a checklist of some essential post-divorce actions.
- Follow your property division order. Work closely with your divorce lawyer to make sure that all marital property is divided and transferred in accordance with your order.
- Make sure that all joint accounts are cancelled — Although this has likely already happened during the separation or divorce proceedings, double check every account you have, to make sure that you are the sole account holder. This includes bank accounts, investment accounts, auto insurance, credit cards, utilities, phones, AirBnb, Netflix, etc. The last thing you want is an unresolved account under which your ex can drive up your bill. An exception to this, of course, is if there are any joint accounts that were explicitly part of an agreement or court order. If in doubt, check with your attorney.
- Decide whether to legally change your name — If you so choose, it is relatively easy to legally change your name to a prior last name following a divorce. Simply complete and file an Application of Resumption of Former Name, along with a copy of your divorce decree, with your civil clerk. When the application is granted, be sure that your social security card, driver’s license, and passport are updated accordingly.
- Update your personal information — If you have changed your legal name, or changed your address, be sure to update the post office, your employer, your bank, your health insurance, your doctors, your credit card company, and anywhere else that you have an account.
- Obtain your credit report and credit score — Make sure that your credit report is accurate and that only your debts appear. Dispute any charges that are not yours. Building and maintain your credit score is going to be essential to moving forward financially.
- Change your beneficiaries — For any insurance policy or retirement account, make sure to designate a new beneficiary. You probably do not want your ex to benefit if a tragedy were to occur.
- Be sure your estate plan is updated — If you have executed a will, be sure to speak with your estate attorney to update your will in accordance with your new plans and property.
Contact New Direction Family Law
If you are considering a divorce, you should contact a family law attorney. Not only is there a one year separation requirement prior to a divorce, but there are critical legal steps that must be taken to preserve your property and custody rights. We can help you navigate this process and get you to the other side. With two decades of combined legal experience in family law matters, the attorneys at New Direction Family Law will provide you with thoughtful, professional legal advice. Call our team today at (919) 719-3470 to schedule an appointment, or contact us online at our website.