22 Jan Important Considerations Following a Divorce
Going through a divorce can be difficult. It is likely that once it is over, you just want to put it behind you. However, after the final papers are signed, you still have some tasks that need to be accomplished. Be sure to make the following post-divorce considerations after your divorce to take control of your life in Florida.
Read your separation agreement
Even if you feel like putting everything aside and getting on with your life, it is important to read over your divorce agreement right after the divorce is finalized. There is a good chance that you did not have a chance to read it thoroughly while the divorce proceedings were happening. Now is the time to go through it and make sure you thoroughly understand everything it indicates. If the agreement states that there are any actions you need to take, make sure you complete them all in a timely fashion. Make a list of all the items in the agreement that need to be completed and the allotted timeframe. That way you do not have to constantly refer to the agreement for clarification.
Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO)
The QDRO is a document that is drafted when divorcing couples need to divide the money in a retirement fund such as a 401(K). If you and your ex-spouse have any money in a combined retirement account that needs to be divided, it is important to have this document drawn up as soon as possible. If this document is not created, there is no guarantee you will receive money that should be rightfully yours if your ex-spouse dies.
Change your beneficiaries
Any account or insurance policy you had that lists your ex-spouse’s name as a beneficiary should be amended as soon as possible. A task like this one is easy to put off, but it should be a priority. One never knows when a beneficiary will be in the position to receive survivor’s benefits. So, if you do not want your ex-spouse receiving any benefits after you die, do not wait until you are old to make the change. Although it might not be pleasant to think about, no one knows when his or her time on earth will end. So, even though you are not anticipating your death, change your beneficiaries as if you are. Some accounts and policies that likely have beneficiaries that need to be changed include:
- Retirement accounts
- Pension plans
- Checking and savings accounts
- Life insurance policies
Update all insurance policies
All insurance policies that you held jointly with your ex-spouse need to be changed. Since you and your ex will no longer be residing in the same house, the homeowner’s policy must be updated to remain accurate. Although it may seem harmless for you and your ex to continue to share the same auto insurance policy, it is not a wise choice. If you remain on the same plan, and your ex gets into an accident or is caught driving under the influence, your rates can be affected as well. Even if you and your ex remain on friendly terms, it is better to sever all ties when it comes to insurance policies.
Change the title and deed to your home
If the house is not required to be sold as part of the divorce agreement, the title and deed need to be changed to show the new ownership status. If you remain in the house, and your ex moves out, you need to make sure only your name is on both the title and deed. Neglecting to take this step could result in your ex regaining ownership of the house if you suddenly die. So, make sure all homeowner documents are updated and filed with the Registry of Deeds.
Meet with your accountant
Schedule a meeting with your accountant and show him or her your divorce agreement. Your accountant can help you figure out any tax issues that need to be taken care of.
Prepare a new will
Arrange for any settlement money to go to your heirs. If you ex is named as your executor or has the power of attorney, be sure to change it to someone else.
Close all joint accounts
Now is the time to start over financially. Close any savings and checking accounts you held with your ex-spouse. Don’t forget to close your joint credit accounts and change the utilities.
Change your driver’s license
If your divorce includes a name or address change, be sure to make a stop at the DMV and carry out the appropriate changes. It is important that your official state identification is accurate.
Change your passwords
We live in a world that is unlocked by passwords. If your ex knows the passwords to any of your accounts, be safe and change them.
Taking these post-divorce considerations can help you get your life back to normal after a long and stressful divorce. If you have questions regarding how to handle your responsibilities after your divorce, be sure to speak with a qualified Florida family law attorney who can help you through the process.