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Post-Divorce Checklist: Documents to Adjust After a Divorce

Published by: Scott Spooner • On: 06-13-2014 • Under: Divorce, Family Law, General • Tagged: ,
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Post-divorce checklistA post-divorce checklists offer a way to organize all the to-dos that come after a divorce is finalized. A divorce decree is unfortunately not the last step in your divorce process. There are a number of different agencies that must be contacted with your name changes, insurance policies will likely need to be adjusted, loans, and all other joint efforts must be addressed quickly to save you trouble in the future.

  • Social Security Card: If your name was changed in the process of the divorce you’ll need to contact the Social Security Administration to update your card and file with them.

  • Driver’s License: A name change will also require you to change your driver’s license. This can be done at your local DMV.
  • W-4: Speak with your employer about updating this form to reflect your single status. You should also speak with your attorney about claiming any minor children as dependents for tax purposes, especially if you have negotiated joint custody.
  • Property Titles for real estate, vehicles, etc: Transferring ownership, or changing the name on the title to reflect a name change (or paring down to just your name on the title) should be done in a timely manner.
  • Retirement Plans and Life Insurance Policy Beneficiaries: It’s important to update your beneficiaries. Children and parents are the most common beneficiaries when a spouse is not involved.
  • Insurance Policies: Home, car and medical insurance should all be adjusted to cover your new status and ownership. Speak with your agent about your coverage.
  • Will & Trust: As with your retirement and life insurance policies, beneficiaries, administrators, and trustees should be updated to reflect your new marital status. An attorney can assist with these adjustments.
  • Power of Attorney and Medical Directives for Healthcare:  You will likely want to change the person with decision-making power to a close family member or a friend you trust.
  • HIPAA Authorizations: HIPAA allows you to give permission to your doctor to share sensitive medical information – so it’s important to remove your former spouse from this list.
  • Banking: Prior to the finalization of a divorce, set-up your own account. Once the divorce has been finalized,  the old accounts may be dissolved or simply transferred from “joint” to “single” depending on the divorce decree. Discuss the options with your attorney.
  • Utilities: These accounts should be changed to reflect the name of the person keeping the home, whether it’s you or your former spouse.
  • Retirement and Pension Accounts:  Make sure any funds to be transferred are in the appropriate accounts and that your former spouse does not have access to your accounts.
  • Passwords:  Change all passwords, whether or not your believe your spouse ever knew the passwords to your personal on-line accounts.

A divorce decree is not the final step in the process. After your divorce is finalized, there is still work to be done. This divorce checklist is not all-inclusive, but it does provide an outline of some of the most important things you want to keep in mind when going through this process of separating lives.

Overwhelmed by the thought of handling all the items on this divorce checklist alone? Your attorney can provide advice and guidance on how to move forward with making such changes. Speaking with them throughout the divorce process will make these last few steps go much more smoothly.

If you’re still looking for a responsible and respected divorce attorney in Georgia, Scott Spooner & Associates are experienced in Family Law and can provide legal advice.

Please contact us for information about our services and how we can help navigate your divorce checklist.






Scott Spooner Scott Spooner

Scott is an attorney and founder of Spooner & Associates, PC, a family law firm focused on efficiently solving clients’ legal problems. A graduate of Georgia State University College of Law, Scott has assisted clients in metro Atlanta and Northeast Georgia courts for over 15 years. He is also a registered mediator with the Georgia Office of Dispute Resolution in the areas of domestic relations mediation, general mediation, and arbitration. In addition to representing many of his clients at divorce mediations, Scott has also served as a mediator to help other divorcing couples reach an amicable resolution.



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