It’s finally over.
After years of feeling stuck in an unsatisfying marriage, you and your estranged spouse are officially divorced thanks in part to your attorney. The judge has signed your divorce order, so now, you are ready to transition into life as a single person, full speed ahead.
Not so fast, though.
There are a few steps you need to take to fully protect your best interests both legally and financially after your divorce judgment. Here’s a rundown on what comes next after a divorce judgment in Texas.
First Steps After the Judge Has Signed the Divorce Order
Even after the judge has signed your order, your divorce isn’t finalized until your county’s court clerk has entered your divorce judgment into the court’s records. At this point, the clerk with date stamp your documents, and both your and your ex-spouse’s attorneys will receive copies of the documents. However, it is within your right to receive copies of any documents you have signed.
Note, though, that in Texas, you and your spouse must have completed a 60-day waiting period, or cooling-off period, before your divorce will be granted. However, this requirement may be waived in extenuating circumstances—for example, if your ex was convicted of committing a violent crime against you or another household member.
Additional Information You Should Know About the Divorce Judgment
Your attorneys are the ones who will generally prepare the language in your divorce decree, and the court will approve it. In addition, if you and your spouse were able to settle your divorce outside of court, your marital settlement agreement will be attached to your divorce judgment or restated in it.
Also, let’s say that you ended up receiving property in two states—Texas and another state—
as part of the divorce property division process. If your divorce was granted in Texas, you will still need to register your divorce judgment in the other state. This is necessary so that the other state will know that your decree affects property there.
Next Steps After the Judge Has Signed the Divorce Order
Once the marriage is over, it’s a wise move to keep your copy of the final divorce judgment in a secure location.
Because for starters, your judgment is essentially an order from the court. If you and your ex-spouse need to meet certain conditions of the settlement agreement that you both reached, having your judgment on hand will make filing for modification or enforcement later on easier. In addition, you might need your divorce judgment to complete a name change legally, obtain a new mortgage, or obtain Social Security benefits down the road.
The good news, though, is that if you ever lose your divorce decree copy, you can ask for a new copy of it from the court in which your divorce ended up being finalized.
Financial and Legal Matters to Address After Your Divorce Judgment
Once you are officially single, it’s critical that you attend to certain financial and legal matters as soon as possible. For instance, you should update all of your financial accounts, legal records, and insurance records. Specifically, you’ll want to remove your ex-spouse’s surname from these records and replace it with your maiden name.
On top of this, you’ll want to close any credit cards or financial accounts that happened to be in both of your names while you were married. Then, open new accounts in your maiden name. Likewise, if you relocate following your divorce, you’ll need to notify all creditors, insurance companies, and financial institutions. Be sure to also change your address on credit cards and checks.
Another important move is to let Social Security know about your address and name changes. Also, obtain a driver’s license that has your maiden name on it, along with your brand-new address.
Additional Financial and Legal to Tackle After Your Divorce Judgment
Once you’ve gotten in touch with your creditors and given them your new name and address, it would behoove you to request a copy of your latest credit report from one of the three major credit bureaus: TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax. This will allow you to check the report to ensure that it properly reflects what accounts are in your name alone versus which ones may still be held by both you and your ex.
Also, if you have a will in place, you’ll want to revise it or create a brand-new one to eliminate your ex-spouse as your beneficiary. Then, you can designate other people to be your beneficiaries.
Finally, take a peek at all of the assets you own, like your investment accounts, 401(k) plans, financial annuities, and insurance policies. Be sure that your ex-spouse is no longer listed as your beneficiary on these assets as well.
Looking Ahead After the Divorce Judgment in the State of Texas
As alluded to earlier, keep in mind that you may need to modify your final divorce judgment as situations in your or your ex-spouse’s life change. For instance, if you are making spousal maintenance payments to your ex, the amount you pay may need to be altered if you take on a job with less pay, of if you lose your job at some point. In addition, changes in your visitation agreement might be necessary if your ex-spouse moves out of town.
If you ever need to change your judgment down the road, it’s imperative that you get in touch with your attorney. Your attorney can help you with the process of drafting your divorce decree modification.
Get in Touch with an Attorney for Help with the Divorce Process Today!
Getting a divorce can understandably be a challenging process financially, legally, and emotionally. However, an attorney can guide you through the process from start to finish.
Get in touch with us at Ramos Law Group, PLLC for help with navigating your divorce proceeding. We’ll make sure that your rights and best interests are protected at each stage of the proceeding.