Getting through a divorce is a physically and emotionally exhausting experience. By the time the final divorce papers are signed, everyone involved is ready to move on with their lives and settle into their new normal. Unfortunately, after the finalized divorce, some details still need to be worked out. While these things might not get the same attention as more significant items such as Child Support or Spousal Support, they still cannot be ignored.
Here are ten things that you should follow up with after your divorce is finalized. Some of these items might be mentioned in the final divorce decree, and if they are, you should not do anything that goes against the agreement. The items on this list will not apply to everyone, and the list is not a complete list of possible things.
- Health Insurance – If your ex-spouse is on your medical insurance, be sure to notify your human resources coordinator and contact the insurance carrier to let them know that your ex should be removed from your policy.
- Retirement Accounts – Remember to change your retirement accounts' beneficiaries to have your ex-spouse removed from the policy. Retirement accounts are often included in the final divorce agreement, so ensure that anything that was agreed to or ordered by the court is completed correctly.
- Bank Accounts – Make sure to remove your ex-spouse from any accounts that you are maintaining control over.
- Credit Cards – Remove your ex-spouse as an authorized user of any credit cards that are in your name. You should also proactively remove yourself from any accounts your ex controls that you are authorized to use. As long as you remain authorized on each other's accounts, the possibility of accidental or even intentional or fraudulent use is there. Even accidental use can lead to arguments and lead to going back to court.
- Trusts or Life Insurance Policies – As with retirement accounts, you should remove your ex as a beneficiary of any trusts or insurance policies. This is also an area that your divorce agreement might discuss, especially if there are minor children involved. Do not do anything that goes against the agreement. Also, some policies do not allow for a change of beneficiary. If this is the case, you should speak with your insurance advisor to go over your options.
- Last Will – Wills and estate plans are living documents and should be updated when there are significant changes in your life. A divorce qualifies as a significant change. Make sure you update all of your paperwork, including your health care proxy and any powers-of-attorney your ex-spouse is named on.
- Real Estate – If you have been awarded any real property as a part of the divorce, make sure your ex-spouse is removed from the title. You should also change the locks, alarm codes, security passwords and make sure that all of your ex's belongings are either picked up or *safely packed and shipped*.
- Vehicles – If you were awarded any vehicles, make sure your ex is removed from the title, registration, and insurance. You should also make sure you are removed from any vehicles your ex was awarded.
- Support Payments and Expenses – When you are paying or receiving support, keep track of everything. If you are receiving child support, make sure you are keeping detailed records of child-related expenses. Any confusion can lead to disagreement and can wind up back in court. Since missing payments can lead to further issues, such as being held in contempt of court, you want to make sure everything is fully documented if you are in a situation where there may be disagreements over what and how much was paid to whom and when it was paid.
- Follow up on any items in the divorce agreement that you are responsible for. Keep notes and track everything, especially if tasks are delayed for any reason.
As we mentioned, this is neither an all-inclusive list nor is every item relevant to everyone. Some of these items might have been a part of the divorce agreement. If there is any confusion over any of these items, or if you are unsure how to proceed to meet the final divorce requirements, please call our office for information. It is better to ask for direction and advice than to do something that was against the court-ordered divorce decree inadvertently.