As you move forward after divorce, there are often concluding details to review. Working closely with a qualified divorce attorney can help cross off important items or tasks. This post-divorce checklist may be a helpful guide to you.
First and foremost, it’s important to have finances in check after finalizing a divorce for several significant reasons. After a divorce, attorneys and financial advisors can assist in completing this section of the post-divorce checklist, crossing off each of the following items one by one:
- Close joint accounts and open new personal checking and savings accounts.
- Update names of beneficiaries on insurance policies or retirement accounts.
- Develop a new estate plan including wills, trusts and power of attorney.
- Transfer or distribute IRA funds to the receiving spouse.
- Pay any outstanding bills or debts before the dissolution of marriage.
- Change all account passwords and automatic payment deposits.
Next up on the post-divorce checklist is evaluating any outstanding insurance problems. Notifying an employer about change in marital status, primarily if the employer provides health insurance to an ex-spouse. Updating auto, home and life insurance policies is also an essential part of the post-divorce process. Separating insurance from a spouse will enable beneficiaries to receive protection in emergencies, even after divorce proceedings end.
Perhaps the most crucial consideration during a marriage dissolution is a co-parenting or parallel parenting plan based on court requirements and final settlement agreements. An attorney can provide resources and recommendations to relieve the stress of separating from a spouse when a child (or children) is involved in the situation.
Typically, the courts strive to ensure that families stay connected and as close together as possible. There will be certain limitations and allowances agreed upon during negotiations with the courts which can leave fewer options for moving out of state or making other significant life changes.
Determining the logistics for living spaces, school, childcare, and more will be priorities on your post-divorce checklist. Take time to talk through the future and career goals with a chosen divorce lawyer before making any drastic decisions regarding co-parenting plans to ensure all personal goals are achievable.
Another item to take care of post-divorce is changes to tax withholdings and allowances. An attorney can walk through the process of applying and receiving payment for any alimony or child support. There may be a need to execute an IRS form 8332, a transfer or dependency exemption, depending on the final terms of any settlement agreement or judgment.
5. Personal Adjustments
Finally, when all is said and done in terms of marriage dissolution, shifting focus to self-care and stress reduction may be helpful when adjusting to a new stage of life. Changing a last name on a driver’s license may not be the only change coming, so it’s best to prepare for unexpected or overwhelming emotions post-divorce. Prioritize the following activities to enhance physical and mental health when navigating this new phase:
- Seek grief counseling, talk therapy, or post-divorce support groups
- Maintain regular physical activity, with a focus on stress-reducing activities like yoga, pilates, meditation, and more
- Take time to visit a spa or go on vacation
- Surround oneself with supportive people like friends and family or a pet
- Join a gym, health spa, or fitness club
- Explore local groups or organizations for new hobbies with like minded individuals
- Join a community church or charitable organization
- Read, relax, breathe
The period of post-divorce can be difficult to endure, so it’s essential to surround oneself with uplifting individuals and joy-inducing activities. Seek information about different resources available for people to relax or even re-connect with others after a marriage ends.
Legal Advocates During and After Divorce
Contending with the grief, exhaustion, and stress that can accompany a divorce can be overwhelming for just about everyone. Instead of facing the difficult post-divorce period alone, find a professional, experienced divorce attorney who is an advocate. A competent legal team like that at M. Sue Wilson Law Offices can offer assistance when working through this comprehensive checklist, ensuring that everything from finances to focusing on mental health is made a top priority post-divorce. Contact M. Sue Wilson Law today to speak with a reputable family law attorney in Minnesota about any current circumstances or post-divorce planning.
This article contains general legal information and does not provide legal advice. For legal advice, please contact M. Sue Wilson Law Offices directly.