Your post-divorce ‘to do’ list

Topic: Divorce
Jan 31, 2021

So, you’ve gone through the haggling, you’ve gone through the pain and are now here you are; sitting on the other side of a long divorce, with the whole rest of your life in front of you. We’re sure you’re probably ready to take a breather. 

The truth is that you can’t, at least not quite yet. Now the good news is – the worst is over. But the rebuilding and re-centering your world is just beginning. While much of that is personal and emotional; there’s also a lot of practical, adult-world stuff that you’ll want to take care of – and that’s the stuff we’re going to be discussing today. 

Here is a post-divorce checklist that you’ll want to go through in order to move on with your life and get to your ‘new normal’ as quickly as possible. Let’s jump right in. 

Your will

If you don’t have a will, you should draw one up immediately. If you do, then it’ll need some updating as there are some things that come up that people are surprised to hear for the first time. Things like the fact that your children (if they’re minors) cannot directly inherit or be named as beneficiaries. Leaving them in that state means your possessions could go to your estranged spouse as their parent. So be sure you speak with your lawyer and get your will updated. 

Beneficiaries of other things

If you have life insurance, investment accounts, workplace retirement plants, an IRA and bank accounts, you’ll need to make sure beneficiaries are updated on these as well. Also have your attorney review any and all of your divorce agreements so that you aren’t required to keep your spouse on as a beneficiary on anything. This is important because if you don’t update your will, then these beneficiary designations on these accounts will be the rule of law. 

Your home

You may want to or need to shell your home/refinance the mortgage if your settlement agreement mandates that you do so. Make sure your deadlines are clear in any agreement and make sure that if you’re the one refinancing that any and all transfer of deeds are filed with your county. If it’s your ex who has to refinance, make sure you have it written into your divorce agreement that they provide evidence that this has been done by a specific deadline. 

Your name

When you get divorced, you may want to change your name back to your maiden name or previous identification. If you decide to do this, then you need to let everyone know – and also understand this isn’t a small task! Notify social security and the IRS first before anyone else. Then tackle your passport, credit card accounts and your bank accounts (once/if they’re split up). Finally – you’ll want to make sure you notify utilities, car insurance, homeowner’s insurance, any umbrella insurance policies, driver’s license and your mortgage. And then of course – make sure your employer knows as well. 

And last but not least – make sure you take care of your mental health throughout all of this. Even when you feel fine for an extended period of time, you’ll be surprised at how quickly you can get down. There’s a lot of stress in all of this – in addition to the emotional pain and separation; there’s the stress that can stack up from the ‘busy work’ part of the process. Make sure you see someone if you have to. 

Hopefully, this will help make the process come into a little bit clearer focus. Should you need help with Tampa divorce mediation, give us a call today and we’ll be happy to offer a free consultation. Until then, good luck!