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 track your information accurately, even if claiming your benefits is years away.

3- Verify your assets (home, car, bank accounts, etc.) are titled with only your name.

You may need to remove your ex-spouse’s name on some of your assets.

4- If your settlement mentions a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) to split retirement assets, ensure this document gets executed.

Work with an attorney specializing 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 essential 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 ensure 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 revenge on your ex-spouse is to move on with life.

(Update to original post from April 10, 2018)


Niv Persaud, CFP®, CDFA®, RICP®, is a Managing Director at 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 developing  comprehensive financial plans, divorce financial reviews, and retirement plans. 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.’”