A Post-Divorce Checklist

You made it through the difficult divorce process, and while it was a challenge to be sure, you should experience a sense of relief. While you’re probably more than ready to put the administrative details behind you and focus on your post-divorce future, it’s important not to get ahead of yourself. In fact, there are several primary post-divorce matters that you’ll be glad you attended to, and having a post-divorce checklist can help. If you are facing a post-divorce challenge of any kind, an experienced Chicago divorce attorney can help. 

Become Well-Acquainted with Your Divorce Decree

The first order of business after divorce is ensuring that you are well acquainted with the terms of your divorce as outlined in your decree. Your decree should serve as a roadmap regarding which steps to take next.

Out with the Old and In with the New

One of the first steps to take once your divorce is final is getting rid of joint accounts and opening accounts in your own name. While this may strike you as fairly obvious, you may be surprised to learn how many divorced couples never get around to doing this. If you still have a joint bank account, you have both your names on one or more credit cards, or you have not had your mortgage altered to reflect the terms of your divorce, now is the time to do so. Failure to take this step can negatively affect your credit score, and heading into your post-divorce future with a clean slate is the way to go.  

Address the Matter of Your Insurance Coverage

Call your insurance agent and determine the best way to disentangle your insurance policies. For example, if you are staying in your family home, you’ll need to either remove your ex from your homeowner’s insurance or will need to purchase a new policy. It’s also important to consider the beneficiaries of your life insurance policies and retirement accounts. Your ex-spouse is probably listed as the beneficiary, and now is a good time to update your choice.   Please also be aware that your Judgment for Dissolution of Marriage may have its own requirement that you maintain your ex-spouse as a beneficiary of certain policies to secure a child support or maintenance obligation. 

Discuss Your Taxes with Your Accountant 

One thing you can count on after a divorce is that your taxes are likely to be that much more complicated. Scheduling an appointment to discuss the tax implications of your divorce settlement with your accountant is an excellent idea.  For example,  you may need to revise your withholdings from your paycheck to provide for your new single tax filing status. 

Additional Considerations

Other considerations that you should address (as applicable) include:

  • Revisit your estate plan and either start over or make the alterations as needed.
  • Change your surname by letting the court know that you plan on doing so during the divorce process and by following through with the next step post-divorce.
  • Make sure that the names get changed appropriately on any deeds or titles in which ownership changed with your divorce.

Seek the Legal Guidance You Need from an Experienced Chicago Divorce Attorney

At Hammer Serna & Quinn, LLC, our team is focused on Illinois divorce and family law matters and offers the experience and keen legal insight needed to help you address your post-divorce concerns head-on. We’re on your side, so please don’t delay contacting us for more information today.

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