A divorce decree is not the end of the process, even if there are no children involved. There are a number of dangling details. You should take these items, join them with your own list and determine who is doing what (you, your attorney, your ex, or your ex’s attorney).
If these items are not addressed, they can cause great problems down the road, both in terms of grief and finances. The items that often fall through the cracks are as follows:
- COBRA coverage (health insurance).
- Change account passwords/re-key your home or auto.
- Preparation and acceptance of a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO), which divides retirement accounts.
- Updates to estate plan, wills, powers of attorney, and life insurance beneficiaries.
- Quitclaim deeds (recorded) to property to end one spouse’s interest.
- Provide school with custody and parenting-time order.
- Obtain counseling for yourself or the children if necessary.
- Child-support account set up, and wage-withholding order implemented.
- Transfer the personal property agreed to in settling or as decided by the court.
- Remember that if you move at any time in the future and you have children, you must file a notice of intent to relocate in advance.
- Remove spouse from accounts, including credit cards.
- Notify your home and auto insurance agent to make changes.
- Change your name if requested and ordered to by the Court, maintaining a copy of your divorce documents for any necessary use in the future.
- Keep a journal of which parenting issues arise each day, recording the who, what, when, where, why and how, noting the date and time.
- Sign up for credit monitoring with all three credit bureaus and monitor.
Ensuring that these matters are addressed will allow you to more easily adjust to the future — in life post-divorce