You’ve signed your divorce settlement and are ready to move forward with your new life. Even though you’ve been through a lot during your divorce process, there are still more financial things to address.
Here are ten things you need to address when your divorce is final:
1- Obtain copies of your certified divorce decree and keep copies in a safe location. Financial institutions may ask for this information as you make changes to your accounts.
2- If you are changing your last name, make sure you notify Social Security administration. This change is important to accurately track your information even if claiming your benefits is years away.
3- Verify your assets (home, car, bank accounts, etc.) have the correct title, especially if they were jointly held when you were married.
4- If your settlement mentions a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) to split retirement assets, make sure this document is executed. You will need an attorney who specializes in QDROs to handle this part of your settlement. Most family law attorneys do not handle QDROs due to their complexities.
5- If your ex-spouse is paying alimony, child support or any other expenses for you, develop a system to track their payments.
6- Change beneficiary information on all financial accounts and insurance.
7- Update your will, health care directive, and HIPPA authorization.
8- Change your status on your W-4 to ensure you have sufficient taxes withheld with your new filing status (from married to single or head of household).
9- Establish an emergency reserve to cover expenses for at least nine months in the event you become unemployed. If it’ll take you longer than nine months to find a new job, then increase your emergency reserve (the more money you make the longer it’ll take to find a job due to the hiring process).
10- Monitor and adjust your expenses to make sure you are not overspending. If you’re accustomed to a dual income household, it’ll take discipline to scale back to what you can afford with your income.
Start your new life off on the right foot. Focus on your finances and build your financial security. The best way to seek revenge on your ex-spouse is to move on with life.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Niv Persaud, CFP®, CDFA™, CRPC®, is the Founder of Transition Planning & Guidance, LLC. Life is more than money. It’s about living the lifestyle you want and can afford. For that reason, Niv consults with clients on money, life, and work. Her approach capitalizes on techniques she learned throughout her career, including as a management consultant, executive recruiter, and financial advisor. Her services include spending plan, financial plan, divorce financial review, life strategy, and professional progression. Niv actively gives back to her community through her volunteer efforts. She believes in living life to the fullest by cherishing friendships, enjoying the beauty of nature and laughing often — even at herself. Her favorite quote is by Erma Bombeck, “When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left and could say ‘I used everything you gave me’.”