With the emotional and physical exhaustion that encapsulates the divorce process, it may seem like getting across the finish line is nothing short of running a marathon. However, it’s imperative that you don’t skip the final step of the process, your cool down. After any workout or race it is important to catch your breath and then cool down, walk, and stretch before moving on to the next thing. Same goes for the divorce process. Your cool down should include several items necessary to fully implement your divorce, so you don’t find yourself in a mess tying up loose ends year’s down the road.
A couple of those important post-divorce items are outlined below.
- Updating Estate Documents
This is often the most overlooked step after divorce. Statistics show that many married couples have already gone years without properly obtaining important estate documents like a Will, power of attorney, and medical directives. Don’t assume that if you have no kids, or little in the way of assets, that you don’t need estate documents. They are extremely important as a single individual or if you are stepping into a second or third marriage (check out a previous blog ‘Most Overlooked Mistake Post Divorce’ (https://nsdivorcesolutions.com/blog/most-overlooked-mistake-post-divorce) for a more detailed example of the pitfalls of overlooking this step).
- Establishing your Own Financial Identity
I find that many of couples have most, if not all, accounts and debt listed under one spouse’s name. The danger in this setup is that now the other spouse, most often it is the wife, walks out of the marriage with limited or no credit history. Unless you are Dave Ramsey and plan to pay for everything in cash, it will likely be necessary to show good and available credit to make a purchase at some point in the future. To establish your own financial identity, you can apply for a credit card (just make sure you pay it off each month) and open bank accounts in your name.
- Update Beneficiary Designations
This step could fall under #1 but is important to highlight on its own. Make sure to notify your insurance companies and remove your ex-spouse as beneficiary (unless mandated in the decree that they would stay on as beneficiary). Also be sure to verify that you have reviewed and updated beneficiary designations on all retirement accounts.
There are also plenty of other steps that should be included as part of your post-divorce action items. If you are working with a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst® they can assist you with that process.
For questions or more information please contact Next Step Divorce Solutions.