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Just Divorced? What Next? Post-Divorce Checklist!

First and foremost, after your divorce has been finalized, several steps remain to be completed.  The list below will help you sort through the many outstanding issues that may need to be addressed shortly after entering final orders.

Post-Divorce Checklist:

  1. Ensure that all documents related to the division of property are filed with the Court, including a qualified domestic relations order or special warranty deed. This crucial step not only solidifies the legal aspects of your property division but also ensures that your future financial security remains unaffected.
  2. After the documents relating to the division of assets have been signed by the court, submit your documents to the appropriate parties, like the fund administrator of your 401K, or the Registrar of Deeds for your home. This proactive approach guarantees that the necessary administrative changes are executed smoothly, granting you peace of mind as you navigate this post-divorce transition.
  3. Change the titles on your vehicles and other property. Altering ownership titles is not just a bureaucratic formality; it’s a practical step that frees you from potential liabilities and allows you to move forward with a clean slate in terms of your assets.
  4. Prepare new wills and other estate planning documents. Revisiting your estate plans ensures that your wishes are accurately reflected post-divorce. This thoughtful adjustment safeguards your assets and guarantees that your loved ones are provided for according to your updated intentions.
  5. Change the beneficiary on your life insurance, 401K and IRA account, unless you are ordered to leave it in your former spouse’s name. This critical adjustment secures your financial future and minimizes any potential conflicts. By updating these beneficiaries, you’re taking proactive control over your financial well-being and ensuring your assets are distributed as you intend.
  6. Change your tax status to reflect that you are no longer married and/or to alter the number of exemptions. Adjusting your tax status is vital to avoid potential complications in your tax filings and to ensure that you’re taking advantage of the most appropriate tax benefits for your new single status.
  7. If you have moved, update your mailing address with credit card companies, banks the department of motor vehicles and insurance companies. This step prevents important financial information from being misdirected and helps you stay organized amidst the changes that come with your post-divorce life.
  8. Obtain auto insurance in your name only. Transitioning your auto insurance policy to your name exclusively not only aligns with your new single status but also grants you full control over your coverage and financial responsibility.
  9. If you were awarded any debts associated with property, refinance the debt so that it is solely in your name. Refinancing these debts under your name alone not only reflects your updated ownership but also prevents potential complications that may arise from jointly held debts after divorce.
  10. Contact your bank and close any joint accounts that you were awarded and reopen the accounts in your name only. Taking this step secures your financial independence and prevents any unexpected complications or disputes arising from jointly held accounts, allowing you to manage your finances with autonomy and confidence.
  11. If child support is ordered, begin making payments directly to the San Antonio Disbursement Unit until the wage withholding order has been processed and money begins coming directly out of your paycheck.
  12. Close any joint safety deposit or PO Boxes.
  13. Keep copies of all social security documents related to your previous spouse. If you were married for more than ten years you may still be eligible for your spouse’s social security benefits.
  14. Revoke all powers of attorney that you may have granted to your spouse in writing.
  15. If you were previously receiving health insurance through your spouse, ensure that you have continued coverage through COBRA or obtain health insurance through other means.
  16. If you changed your name as a result of the divorce, obtain a new driver’s license, passport and social security card.
  17. If you were ordered to use OurFamilyWizard.com in a divorce with children, set up your account.
  18. Begin keeping copies of all your child’s medical records and expenses. Remember to send a copy of any uninsured medical expenses to your former spouse so that you can be reimbursed for 50% of the expense.
  19. If you have any issues visiting or accessing your children following your divorce, create a detailed calendar of all incidents to be used in a later modification or enforcement of your divorce decree.
  20. Scan and copy family photos in your possession and give a copy to your former spouse. Preserving these memories fosters a sense of understanding and cooperation post-divorce, allowing both parties to cherish shared moments while embracing their new paths separately.
  21. Ensure that all property awarded in the divorce has been exchanged. Completing this exchange promptly avoids any lingering attachments to shared property and helps both individuals move forward with clarity and a sense of closure.
  22. Obtain a certified copy of your decree. Securing an official copy of the divorce decree serves as a legal confirmation of your new status, providing proof that the divorce is finalized and aiding in various administrative and legal processes.
  23. Create a new budget based on your change in income and expenses. Adapting your budget to your altered financial situation empowers you to manage your finances responsibly and ensures a smooth transition into your post-divorce financial reality.
  24. You must wait 30 days prior to applying for another marriage license in Texas. This mandatory waiting period offers a valuable opportunity for introspection and a thorough consideration of any future relationship decisions, promoting a thoughtful and deliberate approach to your romantic future.
  25. Take care of yourself. If you are struggling with the emotions of your divorce seek support from friends, family and mental health professionals.

These are just some of the things you need to complete during this period of transition in your life.  If you have some additional suggestions email us at info@ramosfamilylaw.com.

Last Updated on August 23, 2023 by Ramos Law Group, PLLC

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