Anyone who has gone through a divorce will tell you that a marriage isn't truly over with the final judgment of divorce. While a divorce frees you of your marital duties and obligations, you may still need to work together as parents or business partners. There may also be financial obligations and tax consequences that have to be resolved at a later date. You do, however, have a great deal of control over many aspects of your post-divorce life. The key to moving on with as little drama as possible is to compile a checklist of all the issues that need to be resolved after your divorce. These issues include, but are not limited to:
- Estate Planning: Changing your current will ensures that your assets will be distributed according to your wishes. It can also help your loved ones avoid costly court battles, should your ex decide to challenge any portion of your will. In addition, you should make the appropriate changes to your advance directives for health care, also known as a living will.
- Change of Beneficiaries for Insurance Policies and Investment Accounts: Contact your insurance and investment companies for the correct procedures on changing your beneficiary designations. Upon your death, most insurance and investment companies will default to the beneficiary on file, regardless of what it says in your divorce decree.
- Notifications to Your Child's School/ Day Care: Schools and child care centers should be notified of the custody agreement, which is likely to contain provisions for pick ups and drop offs. You can also ask the school to mail out duplicate notices to your spouse at his or her new address. This can help you avoid confrontations if you and your spouse are not on good terms.
- Closing Out Joint Credit Cards: Since credit card companies are not bound to the terms of a divorce judgment, they are not obligated to close out your joint accounts, or change them to individual accounts. A company can, however, choose to do so as a courtesy upon being contacted by one of the spouses. Starting this process sooner, rather than later, can help you avoid long-term damage to your credit, especially if your spouse defaults on payments or files for bankruptcy.
- Finding a New Health Plan: If you are receiving health care benefits under your spouse, you will need to find a new provider upon your divorce being finalized. It's imperative that you start looking as soon as possible, since most plans will only give you a 30 day grace period before your cutting you off.
Depending on your family's situation, there may be many other tasks that you will need to resolve after your divorce. Some of these tasks can be quite overwhelming, so it's a good idea to speak a family law attorney about your rights and legal options. If you need legal advice or representation concerning a post-divorce action, please schedule a free consultation with the family law attorneys of Villani & DeLuca, P.C.