Are you trying to tie up loose ends after divorce?
After a divorce is finalized, it can feel like a bittersweet relief to finally be finished with the process. Though it may feel as though you have a bit of respite from paperwork and important decisions, there is a great deal of unfinished business to attend to in the wake of a divorce. The next phase of your life can only proceed after you’ve taken care of a few items of personal interest.
In order to get the rest of your life started off on the right foot, you need to handle several important matters that will close out the last chapter and prepare you for the next. This important list can help you execute any items of business to protect your future and put the past behind you.
Tips on How to Tie Up Loose Ends After Divorce
Make a List
Before you start to make any moves, it’s a good idea to make sure you are fully aware of the post-divorce tasks you have ahead of you. Grab a notebook or log into a notes app on your phone to create a master document with everything you need to take care of after the decree is finalized. It’s important to jot down even seemingly obvious tasks such as “change my name” or “sell my house” when making this list, as the more comprehensive the list is, the less likely you are to forget important obligations that may have legal consequences if not addressed.
Follow Through with Decree Orders
In many divorce cases, one or both spouses is may be required to take certain actions in order to carry out the terms outlined in the decree. Because these actions usually have predetermined deadlines, swift completion can go a long way in ensuring they’re handled in a timely manner and you won’t face any significant consequences for inaction or slow movements.
Update Your Documents
From estate plans to driver’s licenses, there are a variety of important institutions that should be alerted to your change in relationship status, name, address or income status. Take an inventory of the relevant institutions that will need a copy of your divorce decree or will require an update about this important life change. Everything from requesting a mail-forwarding application to changing the beneficiaries or powers of attorney on your will or trust documents should be done promptly. Putting this off may result in complicated situations in the event of an accident or unforeseen setback that has you and your assets placed in a compromised position.
Deeds, titles, mortgages and other real property that were acquired while you and your spouse were still married will need to be transferred to a single owner. Whether that owner is you or your ex, try to work cooperatively with him or her in order to make this transfer go as smoothly as possible, as these tasks will require participation from both of you in order to complete.
Amend Policies and Accounts
Any insurance policies, bank accounts, credit cards or retirement assets with both names listed on the documentation will need to be amended. It may be necessary to close some accounts or switch policy providers completely, but the sooner you can divide these assets, the sooner you can reduce the risk of liability for yourself and your ex-spouse.
Notify Your Employer
As soon as your married status is made officially single, get in touch with your employer in order to change your tax withholding status. Married individuals receive different tax benefits than single adults. Regardless of what month you get divorced, you will need to file your tax forms under single status. If you put off making this switch, it could impact you when tax season hits, as you may end up having to pay more or receive a smaller refund due to your change in marital status.
Credit cards and loan accounts that are in both yours and your spouse’s names impact your credit score, so it’s important to divide these accounts or acquire your own to avoid further debt acquired in your name. As soon as you receive a copy of your divorce decree, contact any creditors to let them know your name should be removed from the account and are no longer legally responsible for certain debts.
Divorce can be a taxing process with regard to your energy, resources and emotions. While you have plenty of things to attend to during and after a divorce, it’s important to take time for yourself to regroup, tie up loose ends, and make sure to care for your mental, emotional and physical health. Scheduling time for self-care is as important as scheduling meetings with lenders and handling unfinished business. Part of getting set up for the next chapter is ensuring all of your needs are taken care of, both in the logistical realm and for your personal health and wellness.