It’s over!!!!! Whether you receive the envelope with your divorce decree, or you just can’t wait and go pick it up from the courthouse, you have it. You are single. Lots of emotions on that day - but you want to get a few things done asap!
Double Check Your Decree
Couple of things to note - check your name! If you are changing your name back to your maiden name, that needs to be written in the decree (I found that out the hard way). Financially speaking, review everything here. You might need a QDRO to split a retirement account. Do not put this off! If you had a CDFA throughout your process, they should have had this completed before the divorce was final. Review your financial plan, it has changed a lot. Your current or new financial advisor will help open any new accounts and consolidate old ones that are from the divorce.
Review Names on Accounts
It should be in the divorce decree to remove your ex from all current accounts including checking, savings, credit cards, insurance policies, utilities, etc. Your own credit and financial identity are very important here- make sure to get a bank account and credit card in your own name. If you sold a home or are buying a new one, a good mortgage lender is key to help you understand all your options.
You may already have a place you store important documents, but if not, now is the time. A lot of people prefer to keep these electronically so they can access them in a hurry. Make sure to keep any statements and documents needed for taxes here as well. You will probably have some new accounts and a CPA may need additional documents.
This is one of the most important steps. There are so many horror stories of ex-spouses inheriting money from a 401k or life insurance death benefit because these were not updated. Do not make this mistake!
Write a New Will
Everything is different. You want to make sure you are detailed. Freewill.com is a great resource and makes it very clear for you. Make sure to terminate any trusts you had and create new ones.
I remember going to get my final decree at the courthouse and it was a little overwhelming. I cried for what was, and what was to come next. Even though I had no idea what the future held or looked like, I knew there was a magical road ahead and I was anxious to start down that path. My darkest days were meant for a new beginning, and I could not truly appreciate the new life I have now without those times. Each step forward will help you feel freer and allow you to heal. One step and one day at a time. You’ve got this!