Going through a divorce can be an especially uncomfortable process, especially if you and your former spouse did not end on favorable terms. Now that the divorce is finalized, you can finally breathe easy and take steps to start your life anew. But it is important to remember that there are still a few financial projects to take care of—as soon as possible—before you can really start fresh. Most of these projects are not part of the court proceedings and must be taken care of on your own time. Generally, the only things to go back to court for are child custody, child support, or spousal support order modifications.
Your Financial To-Do List
Below we've listed the five financial projects you need to get done as soon as your divorce is finalized.
1. Update your will. Once your divorce is finalized, you will want to update your will and remove your former spouse or revise what you intend to leave them should you pass away.
2. Update your beneficiaries. Make sure you review all of your insurance policies, bank accounts, investment accounts, and trust funds, and remove your former spouse from your list of beneficiaries so that they do not inadvertently inherit from your estate if you do not wish them to.
3. Close all credit cards that are in both of your names. This may seem innocuous enough, but it is very important to make sure to cut any financial ties—like joint accounts—from your former spouse. This will ensure your financial accounts do not comingle in the future.
4. Report your divorce to your employer. Ask your employer to update your tax withholding status, update your beneficiaries, and amend your health insurance.
5. Ask for joint filer relief. If you and your ex-spouse had filed a joint income tax return, but your spouse created a tax debt, you can contact the different programs to help pay your income taxes.