What Absolutely Must Be Done After Divorce?
Divorce is already traumatic enough, and can end up leaving you completely exhausted, such that it can be difficult to think about what needs to be done, even once the divorce decree has been signed. However, it is crucial that you and your attorney complete simple tasks in order to make sure that assets have been properly divided up because the divorce decree alone does not address this issue, as we discuss below.
Health insurance is one of those important issues that needs to be addressed. If your ex was listed on your health insurance, or you were on theirs, insurance carriers need to be contacted in order to ensure that each individual has their own policy and is no longer listed on the others.
Name & Identification
If you are changing your name after the divorce, you will need to obtain a certified copy of your divorce judgment and make sure that you change your name on all of the important pieces of documentation and identification, such as your driver’s license and Social Security card.
Retitling of assets is another crucial task that you and your attorney need to work on. This is especially important if one of you is keeping the family home. The home needs to be re-titled through a quit claim deed, and, in addition, the mortgage needs to be changed. This sometimes requires refinancing, although you should speak with your attorney and possibly a financial advisor about alternatives to refinancing if this is of concern to you. Remember that if your ex’s name is still listed on the home, they are still technically an owner, regardless of what the divorce decree indicates.
Other assets that you may need to re-title might include cars, boats, and anything else you may have purchased together that is of value. Also remember to change the corresponding insurance policies that go along with each of these items so that they only reflect your name.
If you have joint accounts, you will typically need to open up your own individual accounts and then transfer your portion of the joint assets into these accounts. You also need to retitle assets such as bank and brokerage accounts, and others so that they are under your name only.
Splitting up retirement accounts is a little more complicated. You need to do this with assistance from your attorney via a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO). The custodian of an IRA will also typically have its own form for you to fill out and they may ask for a copy of the divorce decree as well.
Estate Planning & Beneficiaries
There are a number of steps that need to be taken in terms of estate planning changes. For one, you will need to change your beneficiaries on such important accounts such as annuities, retirement accounts, life insurance policies, pay on death bank and brokerage accounts, etc. You will also need to prepare a new will and financial and health powers of attorney, as well as appoint new personal representatives for your will and any trusts.
Assets are not the only important topics to address after divorce: You also have to make sure that any expense accounts are adjusted so that you are not responsible for any spending that your ex does after the divorce, and to ensure that they are no longer listed as an authorized user on your credit card account, for example. If your ex fails to pay their bills, and you were still listed on the account, your credit could be negatively affected.
Contact Our Florida Divorce Attorneys To Find Out More
Finally, it is extremely important that you change all of your passwords, as passwords are linked typically all of the above. If you live in Florida and have any questions about divorce and what comes next, contact our experienced West Palm Beach divorce attorney at the office of William Wallshein, P.A. today to find out how he can help.