Your divorce is done and finally so is all that mind-numbing paperwork, right? Not so fast – unless you’re ok with your ex still being the beneficiary on your investments or being covered on your health insurance plan. We didn’t think so. Here’s what you need to change for a clean break; at least from a financial and legal perspective. 

  1. Name Change – We’ve listed this number one for a reason. It’s symbolic – the first step in moving onward and upward. But it’s also important to do this before going on a signing binge to update everything else. Start by changing your name with the Social Security Administration and then change your driver’s license as well as your passport.  To do these things, you’re going to need a certified copy of your judgment of divorce (and a copy of your birth certificate if you are returning to your birth surname).  
  2. Property – If your vehicle(s) are titled in both yours and your ex’s names and it is now yours alone per the divorce decree, then make sure to change the title to reflect that. Update your auto insurance as well with changes to drivers, ownership and/or address. 
  3. Finances – There are several bases to cover here.  Make sure your name has been removed from any debts that are no longer your responsibility.  Update your creditors with any name change or address change information. Change the beneficiary on life insurance policies, investment accounts and retirement savings accounts (such as IRA or 401(k) accounts) to align with the terms of your divorce judgment.
  4. Healthcare – If you were on your ex’s healthcare plan be sure to complete COBRA documents to ensure continued coverage unless you are able to switch to another plan right away (or vice versa). This one is often overlooked, but you should change your HIPAA authorizations at your doctor’s office(s) to prevent your ex continuing to have access to your healthcare information. If your ex is currently listed as your Medical Power of Attorney then change that as well and make sure your Healthcare Directive reflects that change.
  5. Estate Planning – You can update your will in one of two ways: a Codicil which amends your current will or you can simply create an entirely new will, which we recommend, in order to remove your ex as the primary beneficiary and/or their right to act as your executor. If your ex was also your Financial Power of Attorney, you’ll need to change that as well.
  6. Tax Considerations – Lastly, just when you think taxes can’t get any more complicated, divorce brings a variety of new implications to consider. Enough that they warrant their own blog, but don’t worry Divorce and Taxes: 7 Tips to Know [link] makes them much easier to navigate.
  7. Your Stress Level – With this done, now you can breathe that sigh of relief you’ve been holding since the separation! And maybe retire that pen; it’s been through enough!

For additional support and guidance as you navigate divorce and/or co-parenting, we’re here to help with fully virtual coaching and mediation services. Contact us today to learn more or for a free consultation.