So You Are Officially Divorced. What Now?

Your Decree has come in and your divorce is final. So what do you do now? Here’s a checklist of things which may apply to your situation to help you get through what happens now.

Personal Care

✓ If you are feeling a sense of loss, grief or depression seek professional assistance or a support group to take care of yourself. There are lots of support groups available in your community through churches, schools, etc.

✓ Take some time for a little personal self-care. Have a massage, visit a spa (yes even the guys enjoy this), take a short vacation or weekend break.

Financial Accounts

✓ Close all joint checking & savings accounts as soon as all outstanding checks and automatic payments have cleared the bank

✓ Open new checking & savings accounts

✓ Update automatic payments taken from your accounts with new account information

✓ Change named beneficiaries of retirement accounts & life insurance policies

✓ Create new Estate Plan (Will, Trust, Health Care Surrogate/Agent, Living Will & Power of Attorney)

✓ Ensure all prior Powers’ of Attorney are revoked in writing

✓ If Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) is required by your Permanent Orders, follow-up with your attorney and the Plan Administrator to ensure they are notified of the divorce and the QDRO is completed. Some plans have time restrictions that need to be followed.

✓ If there is to be a transfer of IRA funds the receiving spouse must open a qualified IRA to receive the funds and the distributing spouse must notify the financial institution to initiate the transfer

✓ Close all joint credit card accounts

✓ Change all passwords for online account access

✓ Request a final bill from your legal counsel and ensure it is paid

✓ Obtain a copy of your credit report 30 days after the final judgment to ensure that all joint accounts have been closed

✓ Close joint safe-deposit boxes & open new one in individual name


✓ Secure COBRA or other health insurance / notify employer of divorce if health insurance provided through employer

✓ Update auto, home owner & flood insurance records / secure new insurance

✓ Change beneficiaries on all life insurance, disability or other insurance policies

✓ Obtain necessary term life policies if required by your Separation Agreement or Permanent Orders

Property & Asset Records

✓ Sign documents to retitle cars, campers, boats, planes and other vehicles into individual names and file new title with DMV or other agency

✓ Begin looking into refinancing any assets as required by your Permanent Orders or Separation Agreement

✓ Record deeds transferring title to real property

✓ Notify utility companies if new name on account

✓ Ensure any funds held in escrow are transferred or returned (security deposits on rental property, utility deposits)

✓ Notify the Post Office of change of address and mail forwarding

✓ Arrange for the transfer of any personal property that must be distributed as soon as possible

Parenting Issues

✓ Update school records with name and address of both parents

✓ Update medical records with name and address of both parents

✓ Sign up for Our Family Wizard (, or Talking Parents ( or other program to manage parenting contact, children’s schedules, medical reimbursement payments, etc.

✓ Set up direct deposit or Income Withholding Order for child support. Complete papers from the Family Support Registry and return them in order to open the required Registry accounts for child support

✓ If supervised parenting time is ordered, make sure all paperwork for the chosen supervision facility/person is completed in a timely manner and returned

Name Change

✓ Update Social Security Administration

✓ Update driver’s license & auto registration with DMV

✓ Update bank and credit card records

✓ Update employment records

✓ Update insurance records (health, life, disability, auto, homeowners)

✓ Update IRS records

Professional licenses

✓ Update Passport

✓ Update agencies as required for your professional license, especially when a name change is involved


✓ Obtain IRS Publication 504, “Divorced or Separated Individuals” for information about filing status, exemptions, alimony, QDROs, etc.

✓ Change your tax withholding allowances with your employer

✓ Use the IRS withholding calculator to determine your new withholdings (

✓ If you are receiving alimony or self-employed determine if estimated quarterly payments will be necessary.

✓ Execute IRS form 8332, Transfer of Dependency Exemption, if required under terms of the Separation Agreement or Permanent Orders


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