Divorce seems to come in several stages: First, you try to decide whether to end your marriage or not. That’s sometimes a huge decision. Then you contact an attorney and start the paperwork. After negotiating a settlement, and a parenting plan if you have children, you get your final divorce order. Instead of breathing a sigh of relief, and planning your next party, take some time to do these things immediately after your divorce is final.
#1. Make Sure You Understand the Terms of Your Settlement or Decree.
Even if you actively participated in the entire divorce process, give your divorce settlement a final, thorough review. Take note of anything you are required to do or not do. It’s also important to know your ex-spouse’s obligations, particularly those related to your children. Contact your California divorce attorney if you have any questions.
#2. Change Beneficiaries on Financial Accounts.
Naming beneficiaries for your financial, insurance and investment accounts is always a best practice. But it’s easy to forget that your beneficiary designations probably include your ex and maybe even some of your former in-laws.
Contact each institution to learn how to change your beneficiary designations. It’s usually a relatively easy step that people often overlook.
#3. Change All Usernames and Passwords.
Most people have several online accounts that require usernames and passwords. If you have not already done so, change all your logins immediately after your divorce. Make sure that you don’t use passwords that your ex-spouse could easily guess.
#4. Let Your Employer Know About Your New Status.
It’s important that you tell your boss that your marital status has changed. However, you do not have to tell your employer every detail of your divorce. Only share what is necessary and what you feel comfortable revealing.
#5. Change Your Estate Planning.
Estate plans typically include a Will, a durable power of attorney for finances, and an advance health care directive. Other common documents are the living will and the revocable living trust.
These documents reflect your last wishes and how you want your financial and medical decisions to be handled if you become incapacitated. Not many people would want their ex-spouse to be in charge of their bank accounts or deciding when to pull the plug.
It’s usually best to contact your estate planning attorney during your divorce. Immediately after your divorce, though, make sure you change these important documents.
Help with Your Divorce Is Available
The attorneys at The Law Offices of Judy L. Burger are well-versed in divorce and the dissolution of registered domestic partnerships. Judy Burger is a California Certified Family Law Specialist and founder of the Law Offices of Judy L. Burger. Please call our offices at 415-293-8314 to set up an appointment with one of our attorneys. We assist clients along the Northern to Southern California Coast.