If you’re recently divorced, you may be wondering what you need to do now. Last month, we talked about setting a vision for your post-divorce life. Check out our videos from last month here. This month, we’re focusing on the items that are most often forgotten or overlooked.
First, make sure you update all information on your assets and financials. Here are just a few items you may need to take a look at:
- Change your last name. If you have a name change order, take the certified copy to the Social Security office and the Department of Motor Vehicles to update your last name.
- Close your joint bank accounts and credit cards. If you can’t close a joint credit card, try to refinance it or pay it off as quickly as possible.
- Check on your insurance. You may need to get new health insurance or car insurance. Your divorce judgment may require you to get life insurance to secure your support obligation.
- Change all of your beneficiaries. Update the beneficiary on any life insurance, retirement accounts, or other investments. Often, your former spouse is listed as the beneficiary.
For more information check on our video on Tying Up Loose Ends.
Second, update your estate plan, or get an estate plan if you don’t have one. An estate plan is the only way to make sure your assets are given to the people you want them to go to. It is also a way to nominate a guardian for your children. You can also set up a trust and choose the trustee to manage any money left to your children. For more information on estate planning check out this video on the basics of estate planning and this video on estate planning for parents.
Third, be on the lookout for problems or changes. If the other party is not complying with a court order, you may need to file an enforcement petition. This applies to failure to pay support, failure to pay debts, failure to refinance the marital residence, and failure to do anything else that was court ordered. It also applies if a parent is not complying with a parenting time order.
Problems with parenting time may be best resolved with a parenting time modification. For example, if the other parent is engaging in dangerous or inappropriate behavior during his/her parenting time, you may need a modification. Other life changes may warrant a modification, such as a change in work schedule, moving, or changes in the child’s schedule, such as participation in extracurricular activities. Income changes may also warrant a modification of your child support. If your income has been reduced or the other parent’s income has increased, you should request a child support modification. These types of petitions should be filed right away because modifications can only be back dated to the date the petition was filed. This is particularly important if you have lost your job. For more information watch our video on post-judgment enforcement and modification