Post-Divorce Planning Checklist (When You Receive Your Final Judgment)
Once your divorce is finally over, whether it took four years or four weeks, the relief you will feel is tremendous. But you can’t let it overwhelm your better sense. It is very likely that your attorney sent you a letter, reminding you of the tasks still to be undertaken to ensure that the ties that bind you to each other have been completely severed, especially from the financial perspective. (If he did not, shame on him!) Doublecheck that you have either completed or don’t need to do the chores that follow.
- Update your will (or arrange to obtain one, if you, like many of us, have none).
- Update your insurance policies and your beneficiary designations.
- Update your retirement plan!
- Update all of your bank accounts with new “pay-on-death” contingencies.
- Close any joint bank accounts, if you have not accomplished this already.
- Remove your spouse’s name from any of your own, individual credit cards. Close any joint accounts that you can.
- If you restored your maiden name, follow through with changing your name on all important documents and accounts, social security card, driver’s license, passport, and bank/retirement accounts.
- Reread the final judgment and ensure that all final divorce tasks are complete: transferring retirement funds, setting up payments of child support and/or alimony, and recording of quit claim deeds.
- Update all care providers, banks, lawyers, employers, insurance companies, etc. for you and your children and add new contact information for you and your former spouse.
- Consult a financial planner. Plan your new future!
- Arrange to finish paying any divorce professionals who may have outstanding invoices.
- Obtain copies of all important documents from your court file that you do not already have. Get one certified copy of your final judgment, if you don’t have one already. Put that in a safe place.
- Make working copies of your parenting plan and the final judgement. Place them in handy places, like the glove compartment of your car.
On the airplane video, they always say, “Put your oxygen mask on first. Then worry about the kids.” The idea is that you must take care of yourself first to ensure that you are then able to take care of those who depend on you. You are now embarked on a fresh start in your life. Complete all of the tasks outlined here and you’ll ensure that all your children’s needs are covered in this new situation!
Restructuring your family can be difficult. If you run into any problems post-divorce don’t hesitate to reach out to us at Open Palm Law. We are committed to helping your family heal and reach resolutions, regardless of the process you took to get there.
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Joryn, attorney and Open Palm Founder, began her own firm here in Tampa after a 14-year career in law, two of which she served as a professor of law at Stetson University. She is a recipient of the prestigious A. Sherman Christensen Award, an honor bestowed in the United States Supreme Court upon those who have provided exceptional leadership in the American Inns of Court Movement. For more information on Joryn’s professional experience, take a look at her resume.