Congratulations, your divorce has been finalized! No more paperwork, no more lawyer meetings, no more court hearings, and perhaps no more contact with your ex-spouse (unless you share children, of course).
While you can finally breathe a sigh of relief, there are still many things you need to take care of to reflect your renewed single status. If you have kids, you and your spouse must continue to raise them together.
The following is a checklist of what you may still need to accomplish after divorce:
- Create a calendar – From alimony and child support payments to the visitation schedule, there are important dates you need to remember to fulfill the obligations outlined in your divorce decree. Go over your entire divorce decree and write down the dates on a calendar that you could check every day. There are also apps available for parents to download, enabling them to share each other’s calendar.
- Change your name – If you’re reverting back to your maiden name, start by bringing a copy of your divorce decree and identification to the Social Security Office. You must also apply for a new driver’s license, back accounts, credit cards, voter registration, and utility bills.
- Change titles and deeds – If you or your ex-spouse needs to transfer the title of an asset, a quitclaim deed or transfer of a car title must be executed to make you or the other party the sole owner. Keep in mind, a quitclaim deed transfers a property’s interest—not the mortgage. Most mortgage companies may ask you to refinance or requalify to remove your spouse’s name. If you or your ex-spouse is still paying off a specific vehicle, contact the car loan company to learn what must be done to transfer the vehicle title. Additionally, contact the car insurance company to reflect the change.
- Cancel joint bank accounts and credit cards – Any accounts you and your ex-spouse share should be closed since the money should’ve already been equally divided. For credit cards, ensure your name is the only one on the account and removed from any cards your spouse continues to use. You can start building your credit score by opening your own account and making minor purchases.
- Change your marital status on taxes – Taxes are typically more complex the year you divorce. Contact your accountant or a tax professional to obtain help when filing your taxes.
- Divide retirement accounts – If you haven’t done so already, have your attorney draft a qualified domestic retirement order (QDRO) to transfer a 401(k) or pension. You do not need a QDRO to divide an individual retirement account (IRA) or savings account.