You may think it’s all over once your divorce is final, but there are a few more things you should do to get on the right path for your next chapter.
It’s kind of like moving into a new place. You have to arrange for your utilities to be transferred, register the kids in new schools, change the address on your credit cards, and go to the DMV. In fact, some of these items might be on your post-divorce list as well.
I generally provide a 60 day window in the settlement agreements I write for my divorce mediation clients, which means that my clients agree, in writing, to make the appropriate changes within 60 days after their divorce is final. These changes may include taking the other partner off the car insurance policy, obtaining new health insurance, and changing the beneficiary on any life insurance policies. Other items of equal or greater importance may include transferring ownership interest in real property, stock, and timeshare units.
My clients agree to cooperate with each other about signing all documents necessary to separate any assets and liabilities they previously held together.
Further, I encourage my clients to seek the assistance of a reputable financial planner (I work with several) for guidance when separating retirement accounts. And if they have children, I strongly urge my clients to get advice from an estate planning attorney (I also work with several) so that, in an emergency, the kids have appropriate protection.
This doesn’t have to be as daunting as it sounds. It just requires a bit of advance planning. Several times when I’ve moved into a new house or apartment, I did a walk-thru with a manager or supervisor and together we created a punch list of things that needed to be done. Same concept, but I’ve changed the name from “punch” to “To Do” for obvious reasons. In the spirit of cooperation, of which most of my clients are already in possession, I suggest that you make your own “To Do” list of all the nit-picky yet significant things that need to be done when ending a relationship. You’ve already (hopefully) separated your things, and closed your joint bank accounts and credit cards. Now it’s time to make a list of the other things to do, decide who’s doing what, and when each will be completed.
I’m going to repeat the preceding sentence, because it’s really, really important. NOW IT’S TIME TO MAKE A LIST OF THE OTHER THINGS TO DO, DECIDE WHO’S DOING WHAT, AND WHEN EACH WILL BE COMPLETED.
Then stick to it.
Checking things off a list, any list, feels very satisfying to me. Imagine how you’ll feel when a list as important as this gets completed.