Getting a divorce is challenging. Apart from financial stress, it can also lead to unbearable emotional turmoil. That’s why you feel relieved once the arduous process is over.
Although you are eager to leave the bitter past behind and move on with your life, there are still a few things you need to take care of.
No matter how trivial they may seem, these steps are crucial to ensure you can move on without any legal, financial, or emotional pain. As a leading divorce lawyer in Buffalo, we often encourage our customers to tie up any loose ends once for all.
Here is a post-divorce checklist that can help you officially start your life afresh.
1. Check Your Divorce Decree
The first order of business is to go through your divorce decree, which outlines your assets and debt distribution. Make sure to check the paperwork you and your spouse need to sign to complete this legal process as soon as possible. Check the child custody and alimony schedule as well.
Usually, you can finish any post-divorce paperwork in a month or two. If you delay, your spouse may refuse to sign any documents later on. Sometimes, you may also have to pay your attorney additional fees if you decide to complete post-divorce paperwork at a later time.
2. Cancel Joint Bank Accounts and Credit Cards
Most Minnesota divorce lawyers advise you to close all your joint accounts and cancel joint credit cards. Once your divorce gets finalized, the court will have already divided all your assets. So, closing any joint accounts shouldn’t be a problem. You can open new bank accounts in your name or convert joint accounts into solely-owned bank accounts. Similarly, you will need to get a new credit card in your name to start building your credit score.
Most couples (and families) have joint insurance policies for healthcare, life insurance, and assets like homes and cars. Having joint policies makes sense as they save money and provide better coverage.
After the divorce, however, you will need to review all your policies. You will need to buy new insurance policies in your name and update your beneficiary. If you want to continue with the same company and agent, call them to discuss the next steps. The sooner you can do this, the better.
Sometimes, ex-spouses deliberately delay these processes to provoke their former partners. However, once you inform your insurance company about the divorce, they will most likely cancel your ex-spouse’s coverage immediately. Just make sure you do it soon.
4. Your 401K and IRAs
If you have pension accounts, you will need to divide them as well. You can split your IRAs and savings accounts without a Qualified Domestic Retirement Order (QDRO) from the court. However, you will need it to distribute your 401K account.
Talk to your divorce lawyer in Buffalo or your accountant to help you draft a QDRO. You will need to file this draft with the court and get it signed by the judge. However, each case is unique. Make sure to talk to your attorney to know the time limit, beneficiary, and other factors involved in dividing your 401K.
You will also need to change beneficiaries for all your pension, investments, and savings accounts. Talk to your investment advisor or your bank to make the necessary changes.
5. Check Your Taxes
You may need to file taxes as per the details chalked out in your divorce decree. You will need to talk to your accountant before filing your taxes. Usually, filing taxes after a divorce can be complicated. That’s why it is better to consult a professional.
6. Change Your Name
If you want to change your name back to your maiden name, you will need to start with your Social Security Number (SSN). Once your name on your SSN is changed, you can update your driver’s license and passport. After these documents are updated, you will need to change your name on bank accounts, utility bills, insurance policies, and voter registration, among others.
7. Update Deeds and Titles
You will also need to update your deeds and titles. Most divorce decrees allow you to use quitclaim deeds to transfer property and asset titles. Your divorce lawyer in Buffalo can help you draft quitclaim deeds.
However, deed and title transfers are complicated processes. For example, most lenders require you to refinance your mortgage as you can’t take your spouse’s name off a mortgage. You can talk to your attorney, accountant, and bank to work out a solution.
8. Update Your Online Accounts
Finally, you will need to update all your social media accounts, digital payment accounts, and emails. Whether or not your spouse knows about them, make sure to change passwords and contact information for all your online accounts.
As you can see, a lot of work needs to be done after your divorce gets finalized. From updating your name to closing joint bank accounts, it’s a long list of tasks. Although you feel may like taking a break at this point, it is in your best interest to complete all these tasks on time. We hope the above post-divorce checklist will help you prepare for what comes after the divorce.
Call the Best Divorce Lawyer in Buffalo Today!
If you are looking for a trusted, experienced, and professional divorce lawyer in Buffalo, your search ends at Carlson & Jones, P.A. Our team of dynamic lawyers will help you get a favorable divorce settlement and also provide post-divorce assistance. Call us at (855) 976-2444 or contact us online to know how we can help.