Once the divorce has been finalized, a new phase begins – transitioning to and embracing a life in which your former spouse is no longer a partner or decision-maker. You now get to choose where to focus your energy and how to direct your life.
Getting a handle on your finances is paramount. Expect to have some lengthy to-do lists and loose ends to tie up. Taking charge can be daunting, but it is also empowering. It also can be a great way to help you focus on your present day and future needs instead of dwelling on the life you used to have. Every task you accomplish, no matter how tedious, represents an important step towards building your new life.
For some, a name change comes first. You will need to change your name on your social security card at the Social Security Administration office. Once that is complete, you then will update your driver’s license. From there, these two documents can be used to update your name with all financial institutions where you transact business. Even if you are not changing your name, you will need to notify your employer of your marital status and probably complete a new I-9 form for tax withholding purposes. Register to vote under your new name and address.
These are the main financial areas you will need to address:
You’ll want to assess your entire financial situation. We recommend ordering free copies of your credit report from the three reporting agencies. Establish your own credit with new credit cards.
Make sure all joint bank accounts truly are closed and funds have been distributed according to the judgment. If you haven’t already, open a new checking and savings account. Be sure to notify the bank of any name change.
Ensure all property is distributed according to your judgment, including refinancing or selling your house. Change titles to motor vehicles.
Wills and estate planning:
Prepare a new will, along with trusts and other estate planning documents. Let us know if you need assistance with the documents.
Review your insurance (health, home, auto, life) for appropriate coverage. Update beneficiaries if needed. If your spouse is to continue as a beneficiary of your life insurance, find out if the insurance company automatically removes former spouses after divorce; they may need to be reinstated.
If you have children and share custody, keep a record of visitation. Co-parenting apps can simplify the process. You’ll want to keep copies of child support and maintenance payments, along with all hard-copy and electronic communication you exchange with your former spouse.
In our next blog, we’ll go over tips for managing emotions and the relationship with your former spouse.
All of us here at Raza & Jones, LLC understand this is a challenging time for our clients. As a family law firm, under St. Louis County’s Order pertaining to COVID-19 we are considered an essential business, and we remain open and available to all our clients. Our entire firm is working remotely, using our videoconference account to meet with clients or speaking by telephone. We are committed to delivering the same high standard of compassionate, effective representation we’re known for, in the face of rapidly changing circumstances.
With a combined 30 years in family law, the attorneys at Raza & Jones, LLC, will provide the legal guidance you need. For questions, or to schedule a confidential consultation, call 314-449-8830.