So, your divorce is finally done. Now, you want to relax and take a breather as you move into your post-divorce life. However, there are some things you should do after your divorce to finalize all the details. Even the most clearly defined topics in your divorce may not just happen automatically. You and your former spouse will need to do some tasks yourself.
What you may need to do after divorce will depend on your case, and your family law attorney should advise you in this area. At the very least, you will need to do some or all of the tasks below.
Get Certified Copies of the Divorce Judgment
Buy at least two certified copies of your divorce judgment from the court where it was filed. There are times when you may be asked to produce a copy of your divorce judgment, and you want to be prepared and able to quickly produce it if you are asked.
Transfer Asset Titles
Chances are your divorce handled assets like cars and the properties you owned. You need to formally change the ownership of these assets to ensure they now legally belong to the correct party. If, for example, you and your spouse are both on the deed to the family home but you received it in the divorce, you’ll want your spouse to transfer their ownership interest on a deed back to you.
Insurance for these assets needs to be changed, too. Your car and homeowners’ insurance, for example, must reflect the new owner once the title has been transferred.
Update or Change Life Insurance
Make sure you contact your life insurance company so you can update your marital status and beneficiaries. Keep in mind that your divorce judgment may specify you have certain beneficiaries, such as your kids, listed on the life insurance. If your divorce judgment doesn’t address your life insurance policy, you can do what you’d like in this area.
Handle Financial and Bank Accounts
Contact your financial institutions directly to ensure that the person who is supposed to have access to accounts under your divorce judgment, (such as savings, checking, and credit card) is the only person with access to those accounts. If you need to remove yourself from an account, you may need to go to the bank in person to do so.
Assess Your Estate Planning
If you already have estate planning documents such as a will or trust, it’s likely time to update them. If you don’t, now is the time to get it done. With estate planning documents, you can specify what happens to your possessions when you pass away.
Manage Health Insurance and Health Directives
Look for a new health insurance plan if you are losing yours or update your marital status with your health insurance provider. Don’t forget to speak to your doctors, too, about any health care directives you signed in the past. Chances are those directives leave medical decision authority to your spouse, so you will need to make new ones to give another person that authority. If there is a HIPPA form on file with your doctors that gives your spouse access to your health care information, you’ll need to change that, too.
There are still many important things you must do once your divorce is finalized to ensure your divorce judgment is reflected on a practical and legal level. If you’re not entirely sure what to do, speak to your family law attorney. An attorney can help guide you based on what is part of your divorce judgment to ensure you don’t miss anything.