What Do I Absolutely Have to Do Once My Divorce Decree Is Finalized?
As divorce attorneys who practice here in Florida, we understand just how difficult going through a divorce can be, and how completely exhausted you may feel, both during and after. However it is incredibly important that you and your attorney go through a number of tasks—even after the divorce decree is finalized—in order to make sure that you are protected; especially when it comes to dividing up assets and debts; as we discuss below.
Health Insurance Accounts
Health insurance is one of these important accounts that needs to be dealt with. If your ex was covered under your insurance, or you were covered under theirs, contact needs to be made with the relevant insurance carriers to make adjustments and ensure that each individual is covered under their own policy.
Name & IDs
If you were planning to change your name after your divorce. you will not only need to obtain a certified copy of your divorce decree, but also make sure that you change your name when it comes to all of the important documents and identifications, such as your driver’s license and Social Security card.
Re-Titling Assets & Adjusting Joint Accounts
Any assets that you are holding onto you also need to be re-titled. The biggest and most important one is the family home (if you or your ex are keeping it). Retitling of the home tends to be done via a quit claim deed. In addition, the mortgage on the home should also be changed. Sometimes this is done through refinancing, although you should speak with your attorney and financial advisors about other options if you have concerns about refinancing. Remember that, as long as your ex’s name is still listed on the home, they are still technically an owner, regardless of what the divorce decree indicates.
Other assets that individuals often have to re-title might include cars, boats, motorcycles, etc. Remember to also change any accompanying insurance policies for all of these assets so that they reflect your name only.
Joint accounts also need to be adjusted and any shares of the joint assets need to be moved into your new, individual accounts. You will also need to retitle assets, such as bank and brokerage accounts, so that they are under your name only.
Splitting up retirement accounts is a little more complicated, and needs to be done with assistance from your divorce attorney. This is typically done through a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO). Also keep in mind that the IRA custodian may have its own form for you to fill out, and may require a copy of your divorce decree as well.
Estate Planning & Beneficiaries
A number of estate planning changes also need to be made. This includes changing who is listed as your beneficiaries on your retirement accounts, annuities, life insurance policies. IRA accounts, etc., as well as pay-on-death and brokerage accounts. Part of your new estate planning tasks may also include appointing new individuals to act as executor(s) of your will, trusts, etc., as well as designating new powers of attorney for financial and health, and making any necessary adjustments to your will.
Just as it is important to retitle assets, it is very important to make adjustments to expense accounts. This includes closing any joint accounts and any existing authorized users when it comes to bank, brokerage and/or credit card accounts. Not only do you need to make sure that your ex is not authorized to access your bank and credit card accounts, but you also want to make sure that your name is removed from their accounts so that you won’t be responsible for any debt that they accrue after the divorce.
Passwords & Working With The Right Divorce Attorney
Finally, you want to make sure that any and all passwords have also been changed in order to protect and coordinate all of the above. If you live in Florida and have any questions related to these issues, contact our experienced Orlando divorce attorneys at Arwani Law Firm, PLLC today to find out how we can help.