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7 Things To Do After Your Divorce

After a divorce is finalized, the hardest part of the case is typically over. However, there are still some housekeeping matters that need to be completed to allow for a seamless transition to your post-divorce life.

1. Get a Certified Copy of the Divorce Decree

After the divorce is finalized, you will at some point in the future need a certified copy of the divorce decree. It may be required when purchasing a home, traveling out of the country, getting a passport, or during some other life event. It is advisable to purchase a certified copy of the divorce decree shortly after the divorce, so that you have it for when you may need it. While you can always request a certified copy of the divorce decree from the Court, if the file has been transferred off site, there could be a significant delay in obtaining a copy.

2. Have your spouse execute all necessary documents

After a Final Judgment of divorce is entered, there are typically other documents that will need to be executed to effectuate the transfer of certain assets. You may need your spouse to execute a quit claim deed, execute documents for taxes, or sign off on a transfer of pension or retirement benefits. It is best to have all of these documents executed shortly after the divorce. The longer you delay in having these documents executed, the more liability you have that something may go wrong. For example, although unlikely, one spouse could pass away, leaving the other spouse needing to submit his or her claims to a probate court. Ensuring that all of these documents are executed shortly after the divorce is finalized reduces your potential future liability.

3. Create a joint calendar

If you have children together, it is a good idea to create a joint calendar, so that you can communicate school events, extracurricular activities, and trips between the parents without needing to directly communicate. Many parents opt to use a shared Google calendar for this purpose. However, other companies, such as ourfamilywizard.com, offer specific software for this purpose. Having a joint calendar can help alleviate communication issues if both parents are dedicated to utilizing the calendar.

4. Get the QDRO Done

If you are receiving funds from a 401K or a pension plan, you may need to have a QDRO (Qualified Domestic Relations Order) completed to receive your portion of the 401K or pension plan. Typically, the QDRO is done by a specialized attorney who primarily focuses on drafting QDROs. It is imperative to have the QDRO done in a timely manner as failure to do so can lead to messy and protracted litigation where one party may claim that he or she is entitled to interest and attorneys’ fees.

5. Change your name

If you requested that your maiden name be restored as part of the divorce, you will need to contact the Social Security Administration (SSA), the Florida Department of Highway Safety Motor Vehicles (DHSMV), and the Division of Driver Licenses. In order to change your name, you will need your social security card, Florida driver’s license or ID card, vehicle registration and title, and a copy of your Final Judgment. You must report your name change to the Social Security Administration first and then proceed to change your name with the Florida entities. Once you receive confirmation of your name change from Social Security Administration, you must update your driver’s license or ID card within ten (10) days.

6. Update will & estate planning documents

After a divorce, all of your estate planning documents listing your former spouse as your beneficiary will become void under Florida law, unless you reaffirm those documents. This means that you will most likely need to create a new estate plan. Additionally, if your former spouse is listed as your beneficiary on your 401k, life insurance plan, pension plan, or any other account, he or she will automatically be voided under Florida law. It is important that you revise your estate planning documents and update the beneficiary on all policies listing your former spouse. In the event that the incorrect beneficiary is paid, the paying company has no liability under Florida law, if you failed to update the beneficiary.

7. Advise your accountant

There are many tax implications regarding a divorce. It is important to meet with your accountant to properly advise you and limit any potential tax liabilities. Property transfers, alimony, and dependency exemptions for the minor children may affect your tax filings.