Three Post-Divorce Tips

Divorce mediators cannot provide either spouse legal advice or financial counsel.  However, there are issues after an agreement is made or after the divorce decree is issued that aren’t regularly highlighted.    Three of these lesser known “post-divorce hiccups” are noted below:

1.    Name Changes.

To the spouses that change their names in conjunction with their divorce, be aware of the practical implications of this shift.  Not only will you be spending time changing your name on licenses, credit cards, bills, employers’ tax forms/paychecks, and more, you also will need to ensure that the Social Security Administration has the “same name” you use for the tax return you submit to the IRS.   A mismatch between the IRS and the SSA can equal TUMS.

2.    Wills & Beneficiaries.

Congratulations, you are divorced.  However, your divorce decree generally will not automatically result in amendments to your beneficiary designations on insurance policies, bank accounts, retirement plans, and more.  Get busy gathering those forms and make the changes, unless keeping your ex as a beneficiary is part of the decree or you really do want him or her to be the beneficiary.

And, a word about your will.  If your divorce decree does not invalidate your will (assuming you had one prior to your divorce), you just may want to re-evaluate whether you need or want a will that reflects your current and new circumstances.  While putting off the drafting and execution of a will is fairly typical, it is risky when there are minor children involved.

Consider, if money is tight, looking into a “Pre-Paid Legal” scenario for getting your estate in order (and having a bank of attorneys to deal with legal questions, parking/speeding tickets, and more) for at least the first year post-divorce (and in particular if you have teenagers).  Many Pre-Paid Legal plans can also include identity theft protection and restoration services and tax audit services – services that may be worth their weight in gold and platinum during the detangling period with your ex.

3.   Insuring “Financial Support.

If you are receiving alimony or other spousal support or if child support is part of your divorce, insuring the life of the person paying those forms of support should be considered very, very seriously.   If feasible, disability insurance may be another layer of protection against financial vulnerability, too.   Good legal counsel will raise these issues, but such insurance is not free and some families have to run the risk of moving on without it.  If you can afford it, get it.

 

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