Financially a divorce can put a strain on everyone involved.
If you are in the early phases of divorce, you probably are suffering betrayal, anger, shock, loss, confusion, numbness, panic –or a mix of them all –and it might seem as if you are on a rollercoaster emotionally, feeling “up” at one time and “down” the next. What will you do to remain on the best road forward? Below are some important steps from our divorce and family law legal team to get you up and running toward financial stability after your divorce. As your divorce settlement contract is finalized, you’ll have to:
- Update accounts
Although it might sound mundane, this financial measure is definitely important. As a result of the divorce, if you changed your name, you will have to obtain a new driver’s license, Social Security Card, credit cards, and passport. You also will have to notify your utilities, bank, insurance providers, credit card businesses, your children’s school(s), the motor vehicle department, etc. about all changes of address and/or name. The titles to all assets, like houses and cars, will need to be recorded and modified with mortgage businesses . . . and it likely is you will need to update beneficiaries on your 401k, life insurance, IRA accounts, and pensions, too.
See the list below for an outline of many of the policies and accounts usually requiring immediate attention after a divorce.
- Create a comprehensive financial strategy
If you had your own Lifestyle Analysis done during the divorce, you ought to have a clear understanding of which money came into the marriage and which funds went out. Use that as a basis for creating a budget moving forward.
- Build up your credit
Great credit will form the basis of your financial portfolio and is going to assist you in securing loans in your name down the line. Step one in building great credit includes getting one copy of your credit report. Your present credit rating is the beginning point for your future; therefore, be certain to address all inaccuracies in your report.
- Seek assistance from a skilled financial advisor
More specifically, search for a financial advisor who is experienced and trained at working with women after a divorce.
All the basic elements of a sound financial strategy– developing a budget, preparing for retirement, investing, making certain you do not outlive your money, knowing your aspirations and goals (travelling, leave funds to charity, grandchildren, and/or children etc.) saving for life insurance, college, etc. – ought to be completed underneath the guidance of an investment advisor/ professional who is familiar with the issues and needs of divorced women.
Double-check to be certain you have done everything on the following post-divorce checklist:
Get a copy of the certified divorce decree. You can make additional copies then store them inside a safe place.
Close all joint credit accounts.
Take off your husband’s name or change the address/name on remaining accounts, which include: Investment, brokerage and back accounts
Car title, driver’s license, insurance policies and registration
Disability, homeowner’s health and life insurance policies
Title to real property
Social security card
Study all options for health insurance and apply for COBRA, if needed.
If the divorce decree requires: A QDRO (Qualified Domestic Relations Order): Offer the Qualified Domestic Relations Order to appropriate brokerages, banks, 401k administrators, pension plan advisor, etc. A warranty deed or quitclaim: Be sure the right paperwork is recorded and executed. Transfer of title to property: Finish the transfer by delivering and signing the needed paperwork.
Open up a new bank account. Think about setting up income withholding or direct deposit for child support, alimony and/or spousal support payments.
Open up a new credit card account then ask for one credit report copy.
Disinherit your spouse. Execute and write a new will, medical directives, trusts, and/or powers of attorney or living wills. Do not forget to change all beneficiaries on the IRA accounts, 401k pension, and life insurance.
Set up a system to track all child support received/made, alimony payments received/made, medical costs, and so on.
Enjoy your brand-new life. As you do the above steps, you’ll be on your way to setting up a secure financial basis for the future.