Post Divorce Checklist

After your divorce, there are a range of tasks that you need to make sure are done.  Some you may wish your attorney or financial adviser to assist you with; others you can do yourself.

  1. Make sure that you know what your spending plan is and that you monitor your income and expenses against it monthly.
  2. If you are paying or receiving maintenance, then you will want to see if your tax withholding should be changed.  Go to http://www.irs.gov/Individuals/IRS-Withholding-Calculator and run the calculator to see what your withholding should be.
  3. If there has been a division of a pension, 401k or other retirement plan (non IRA), you need to make sure that a Qualified Domestic Relations Order has been prepared, signed and certified by the Court, submitted to the fund administrator, and implemented correctly. If you are receiving a transfer of funds from a 401(k) or similar plan, then you need to decide if you are going to leave them with the current plan, transfer them to another plan (such as an IRA), or take funds out as cash to save yourself a 10% tax penalty on the withdrawal.
  4. If you are the receiving transfer of funds from an IRA, you need to make sure that you have a suitable account to which the funds can be transferred, and have completed any forms that the Plan needs you to complete.Post divorce check list
  5. Change titles on assets, such as cars and houses.  Record changes with mortgage company.
  6. Prepare new wills and trust documents.
  7. Update your estate plan/financial plan.
  8. Make sure all joint credit card accounts have been closed.
  9. Change the name on the utility bills to reflect who is now responsible.
  10. Obtain personal auto insurance.
  11. Change beneficiaries on life insurance (if not bound to leave it in former spouse’s name), 401k, pensions, IRA accounts.  If you are to remain beneficiary on your spouse’s policy, get the designation reinstated (unless it is specified on your separation agreement)
  12. Update your mailing address with credit card companies, banks, motor vehicle department and insurance companies.
  13. If you changed your name as a result of the divorce, get a new Social Security Card, driver’s license, passport, and credit cards.  Notify your bank, stockbroker and children’s school of your change of name.
  14. Close joint safety deposit or post office boxes, and open new ones if needed.
  15. Keep your attorney and other advisers informed of your contact details, as changes in the law may affect your case.
  16. Obtain a certified copy of your final decree.
  17. Obtain a new copy of your credit report to make sure that the accounts you closed were really closed and that the credit agency file has been updated.
  18. Make sure you are covered by health insurance, whether that is through Cobra benefits from your former spouse’s employer, through your own employer, or through a self-employed scheme.  For information on options in Colorado, click here.
  19. If you were married for at least 10 years, you are entitled to make a claim against your former spouse’s Social Security.  At the time you are eligible for Social Security, you can receive either 100% of your benefit entitlement, or the equivalent of 50% of your former spouse’s entitlement.  See www.ssa.gov.
  20. Keep records of payment or receipt of alimony/maintenance, child support and other support payments made to, or received from your former spouse. (Don’t pay in cash:  Use a check or bank transfer)
  21. Keep records of your children’s medical costs, including insurance claims, co-pays, etc.
  22. If co-parenting is an issue, then keep records of how the visits with the other parent went and any specific problems that may have arisen.
  23. Make sure you have the Social Security numbers of your former spouse and your children.  You may need them for tax returns.
  24. You may need your former spouse to sign an IRS Form 8225 to indicate what your agreement is regarding claiming the children as exemptions.
  25. Update the children’s schools about contact information of you and former spouse, emergency contacts, school pick-ups/drop-offs, etc.
  26. If you are feeling depressed or in grief as a result of the loss of your marriage, then seeking professional help through a divorce support group, grief group or one-one-one counseling may be helpful.  See Grieflink.net for a directory of grief support groups and professional coaches and counselors.

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