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After Divorce: When It’s Over, Is it Really Over?

Divorce paperwork

Your divorce is final, and at last, you have a moment to breathe a sigh of relief. However, as your New Jersey divorce lawyer can explain, there may still be some important loose ends to manage before moving on. Prioritizing these tasks in a timely manner will help make for a cleaner break – and fresher start.

A divorce settlement alone won’t divvy up all your assets or update all your accounts. You will likely need to draw up and submit additional paperwork and digital forms to ensure all financial and legal records reflect your newly-single status.

Review the terms your divorce settlement carefully with your attorney. Make sure you fully understand the actions required of you, your former spouse and your lawyer. Be clear about the deadlines too. This is important even if you and your spouse separated without animosity. Ultimately, that final judgment is a court order, and it can be enforced by the courts if you don’t follow it to the letter.

Common Steps After Divorce is Finalized

Not each of these may apply to your situation, but you’ll want to be certain you aren’t missing any aspect, as it could cause significant hassle and possible upheaval of your likely already-fragile finances.

  • Separate your medical insurance. If your spouse was on your health insurance policy, your carrier needs to know about the divorce so he/she can be taken off the policy. If you were listed on your spouse’s health insurance, you will need to secure your own as soon as possible.
  • Get your name changed. If you are reverting to a maiden name post-divorce, this needs to be reflected on all relevant documents and accounts as quickly as possible. Most companies and government agencies will accept the copy of your divorce agreement as proof.
  • Separate your joint accounts. If you and your spouse had joint accounts/assets, your share of those (per the divorce settlement) will need to be separated into individual accounts. Make sure all property, bank accounts, utilities, credit cards and brokerage accounts you will have moving forward are listed solely under your name (or your spouse’s, depending on the terms of your divorce decree).
  • Retitle your assets. If you and your spouse don’t decide to sell the marital home and the terms of the divorce agreement indicated one of you is entitled to it, a quit claim deed can be filed to alter the title. The mortgage should also be changed, which might necessitate refinancing. Until you do this, both of you will remain part owners, no matter what the divorce settlement says. Retitling may also be required for other assets like vehicles.
  • Update your beneficiaries. If you have a life insurance policy, retirement accounts or an IRA, it’s likely you listed your former spouse as the beneficiary of those accounts in the event of your death. If you fail to update these forms, your ex-spouse will remain the beneficiary. Unless it is part of your divorce agreement that your former partner will remain so, update this information as soon as possible.
  • Meet with an estate planning lawyer. You will need to have a new will drawn up, as well as powers of attorney for health and finances. A new will executor and trustee may also be required to reflect your divorce.
  • Update your passwords. All passwords to your email accounts, social media, bank accounts, and others should be changed. Even if you trust your former spouse, anyone with access to these accounts has the potential to cause considerable headaches. Better to be safe than sorry.

Although these seem like a lot of extra work, addressing these things sooner than later will help you more quickly adjust to your new life.

If there is any aspect of your divorce settlement you wish to alter after the divorce is finalized, you should discuss the possibility of post-judgment modifications with your New Jersey divorce lawyer. A significant change of circumstances – such as job loss, disability, illness, remarriage or retirement – may be a reason to do so.

To learn more about filing for divorce or post-judgment modifications in New Jersey, contact Rozin | Golinder Law today at (732) 810-0034.

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