Moving Forward with Confidence: The Post-Divorce Checklist
Once the dust settles and your divorce is final, it’s time to move forward with confidence. Taking control of your life and embracing the opportunity for a fresh start is essential during this chapter of your life. That’s where a post-divorce checklist comes in.
There are still some very important things to do to tie up the loose ends and keep you moving to a bright future. Sometimes people forget these and it winds up causing trouble down the line — so it’s important to make sure you dot the i’s and cross the t’s.
Our post-divorce checklist provides a comprehensive guide to help you navigate this new phase. From managing your finances and updating legal documents to focusing on self-care and rebuilding relationships, this checklist covers all the important areas to consider.
Divorce can be hard, but with the right tools and support, you can regain your footing and thrive. We designed our checklist to empower you and help you stay organized and proactive. By having a clear roadmap, you can confidently tackle the necessary steps and prioritize your well-being.
And, we’re off!
The Importance of a Post-Divorce Checklist
Finalizing your divorce can be both exhausting and exhilarating. It’s important to have a post-divorce checklist to ensure you don’t overlook any crucial matters during this transitional period. Missing these things can create issues — including the need to return to court post-judgment — so you want to make sure you get everything squared away. This checklist serves as a guide to help you regain control over your life and move forward with confidence.
Emotional Well-Being After Divorce
After a divorce, it’s natural to experience a wide range of emotions. From sadness and anger to relief and even excitement, the emotional roller coaster can be overwhelming. It’s important to take the time to process these emotions and prioritize your mental well-being.
Take some time for a little personal self-care. Have a massage, take a vacation day, or go away for the weekend. Additionally, engaging in self-care activities such as exercise, meditation, and journaling can be beneficial in promoting emotional healing.
One way to support your emotional well-being is by seeking professional help. Therapy or counseling can provide a safe space to express and explore your feelings, helping you navigate the emotional challenges that come with divorce. Let us know if we can assist with a referral.
Financial Considerations Post-Divorce
Divorce often brings significant changes to your financial situation. It’s crucial to review and reassess your finances to ensure stability and security moving forward. Start by creating a new budget that reflects your post-divorce income and expenses.
Consider meeting with a financial advisor to help you make informed decisions regarding investments, retirement planning, and debt management. Take the necessary steps to separate joint accounts and establish your own individual financial accounts. This will help you regain control over your finances and ensure that you are not held responsible for any debts incurred by your former spouse.
Legal Matters to Address After Divorce
Even after the divorce is finalized, there are still legal matters that need to be addressed. Review your divorce decree and ensure that all the terms and agreements are being followed. If any issues arise post-divorce, consult with your attorney to explore the appropriate legal actions.
Additionally, update your will, power of attorney, and any other legal documents that may need to be revised due to the divorce. Let us know if we can assist with a referral to an estate planning attorney. Ensure that your beneficiaries, both for financial accounts and insurance policies, are updated accordingly. Taking these steps will help protect your interests and ensure that your wishes are honored.
Updating Personal Documents and Records
After a divorce, it’s essential to update your personal documents and records. Start by changing your last name, if desired, on identification documents such as your driver’s license, passport, and social security card. Notify relevant institutions, such as banks, credit card companies, and insurance providers, about your change in marital status.
Review your healthcare documents and update your emergency contact information. Consider updating your address and contact information with any subscriptions or memberships you may have. These small but important steps will help ensure that your personal information is accurate and up to date.
Co-Parenting and Child Custody Arrangements
If you have children, co-parenting and child custody arrangements will be a significant part of your post-divorce life. It’s important to establish open and clear lines of communication with your ex-spouse to ensure the well-being of your children.
Create a parenting plan that outlines custody schedules, visitation rights, and decision-making responsibilities. Keep in mind that flexibility and cooperation are key in co-parenting successfully. Work together with your ex-spouse to create a nurturing and stable environment for your children.
Building a Support Network
During and after a divorce, having a support network is crucial. Surrounding yourself with friends and family who offer emotional support and understanding can help ease the transition. Seek out support groups or online communities where you can connect with others who have gone through similar experiences.
Additionally, consider seeking professional help from a therapist or counselor who specializes in divorce and relationship issues. They can provide guidance and support as you navigate this new chapter of your life.
Self-Care and Personal Growth After Divorce
Divorce provides an opportunity for personal growth and self-discovery. Take the time to focus on yourself and invest in self-care activities that bring you joy and fulfillment. This could include hobbies, exercise, travel, or pursuing new interests.
Set goals for yourself and create a plan to achieve them. Whether it’s furthering your education, starting a new career, or exploring new passions, embrace the opportunity to redefine your identity and create a fulfilling life post-divorce.
Exploring New Opportunities and Goals
Divorce is the end of a chapter, but it’s also the beginning of a new one. Embrace the opportunity to explore new opportunities and set new goals for yourself. This could be in your personal life, career, or relationships.
Consider seeking out new experiences and stepping out of your comfort zone. Travel to new places, meet new people, and try new activities. Embrace the freedom and possibilities that come with being single, and use this time to discover what truly makes you happy.
The Post-Divorce Checklist
Here is a Post-Divorce Checklist to use. Note that while this list is quite comprehensive, it is also general and your personal “to do” list might very based upon your divorce decree and your situation.
- For a lot of the below items you will need a certified copy of your divorce decree. You can obtain certified copies directly from the clerk’s office at the family courthouse where your divorce was final.
- Prioritize yourself — make some time to relax and refresh!
- Close all joint checking & savings accounts as soon as all outstanding checks and automatic payments have cleared the bank
- Open new checking & savings accounts
- Update automatic payments taken from your accounts with new account information
- Change named beneficiaries of retirement accounts & life insurance policies
- Create new Estate Plan (Will, Trust, Health Care Surrogate, Living Will & Power of Attorney)
- Ensure all prior Powers’ of Attorney are revoked in writing
- If Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) is required by Final Judgment, follow-up with Plan Administrator or the QDRO attorney to ensure the Plan was notified of the divorce and the QDRO is completed
- If there is to be a transfer of IRA funds the receiving spouse must open a qualified IRA to receive the funds and the distributing spouse must notify the financial institution to initiate the transfer
- Close all joint credit card accounts
- Change all passwords for online account access
- Request a final bill from your legal counsel and ensure it is paid
- Obtain a copy of your credit report 30 days after the final judgment to ensure that all joint accounts have been closed
- Close joint safe-deposit boxes & open new one in your individual name
- Secure COBRA or other health insurance / notify employer of divorce if health insurance provided through employer
- Update auto, home owner & flood insurance records / secure new insurance
- Change beneficiaries on all life insurance, disability or other insurance policies
Property & Asset Records
- Sign documents to retitle cars, boats, planes and other vehicles into individual names and file new title with DMV or other agency
- Record deeds transferring title to real property
- Notify utility companies if new name on account
- Ensure any funds held in escrow are transferred or returned (security deposits on rental property, utility deposits)
- Notify the Post Office of change of address and mail forwarding
- Arrange for the transfer of any personal property that must be distributed as soon as possible
- Update school records with name and address of both parents
- Update medical records with name and address of both parents
- Sign up for Our Family Wizard or another program to manage parenting contact, children’s schedules, medical reimbursement payments, etc.
- Set up direct deposit, Venmo (or another app), or Income Withholding Order for child support
- Update Social Security Administration
- Update driver’s license & auto registration with DMV
- Update bank and credit card records
- Update employment records
- Update insurance records (health, life, disability, auto, homeowners)
- Update IRS records
- Professional licenses
- Update Passport
- If you don’t have an accountant or tax preparer, we encourage you to work with one at least for the first year or two post-divorce
- Review IRS Publication 504, “Divorced or Separated Individuals,” for information about filing status, exemptions, alimony, QDROs, etc.
- Change your tax withholding allowances with your employer
- Use the IRS Withholding Estimator to estimate your new withholdings
- If you are receiving alimony or are self-employed, determine if estimated quarterly payments will be necessary.
- Execute IRS form 8332, Transfer of Dependency Exemption, if required under terms of your Settlement Agreement / Final Judgment
Conclusion: Moving Forward with Confidence After Divorce
Moving forward with confidence after a divorce requires a proactive and organized approach. Our post-divorce checklist serves as a valuable tool to guide you through the important areas to consider. From emotional well-being and financial considerations to legal matters and self-care, this checklist empowers you to regain control over your life and thrive in this new chapter.
Remember that healing and rebuilding take time, and it’s essential to be patient and kind to yourself. Surround yourself with a strong support network, seek professional help when needed, and embrace the opportunities for personal growth and self-discovery. With the right tools and support, you can move forward with confidence and create a fulfilling life after divorce.
So, take a deep breath, embrace this new chapter, and let the post-divorce checklist be your guide as you embark on the journey of moving forward with confidence.
Please reach out if we can help.