Once the divorce forms have been considered, approved, and filed away, you may think the time to breathe easy is upon you. However, now isn’t the time to let your guard down. In fact, the most important — and sometimes, the most challenging — work still lies ahead.
How you handle your finances in the wake of a divorce is every bit as important as getting an easy, headache-free agreement in place with your ex. It starts by getting your financial house in order.
For women, that may mean a name change, which means a new passport, driver’s license, Social Security Card, and credit cards, are in order.
There’s also the issue of insurance, beneficiaries, address changes, utility accounts, and modifications on the titles of all major purchases (i.e. home, automobiles, etc).
The main thing is that you modify your life so that all of your assets are 100 percent under your control. Here are some quick tips for getting your finances in order after the divorce forms are final.
Taking on the minutiae of details in the wake of a divorce can be a daunting task. You want to be prompt about getting everything done, but you also don’t want to rush in to every little thing before taking an inventory. That’s why it’s important you take a day to get organized. Handle all the major modifications — home, car, credit card accounts — first. Group from the most important to the least, and then move down the list taking on one required change at a time.
Inevitably, you’ll run in to an issue where your ex didn’t handle something she said that she would.
For yours truly, it was the cable bill. I moved out of the house and left her with that payment, but it was in my name. We wanted things to go as smoothly as possible, so Dish Network required certain participation from her to transfer the same account. Unfortunately, she didn’t hold up her end of the bargain, and one year later, I received a bill letting me know the payment was overdue.
I made the mistake of not following up to see if she’d taken care of things on her end. Wanting to cut things off before it did any damage to my credit, I had Dish cancel right away, and then had her drive the dish to a meeting place, so I could collect it and send it on to the provider.
This is just one example.
It could be any bill or responsibility. Just make sure you stay on top of things until you know your share of the commitment has been severed. And if you receive information that something is not in order — even if you think it is (or should be) — don’t stew. Get to it.