Things to Do After Your Divorce Is Finalized
After a divorce is finalized, most people experience sadness, but also a sense of relief and optimism. You are probably ready to move on to the next phase of your life. However, there are still a few more things that need to be crossed off your to-do list after the final decree in your divorce has been entered.
Change Your Last Name, If You Want.
Some people decide to keep their married name after a divorce; others want their maiden name back as soon as possible. If your name change was granted as part of the divorce proceedings, you can bring the divorce decree to the DMV and Social Security office to get new identification documents issued. Be sure to update your bank account, insurance documents, and other important records to reflect your new (old) name.
If you decide to change your name after the divorce is final, you can still request a name change. You must submit the notarized Application for Change of Name and Affidavit, Order for Name Change, and copies of your birth certificate and divorce decree to the circuit court in the county that you live. A Court appearance may be required.
After a divorce settlement has been reached, the proper documents must be executed to separate marital financial property. Quit claims may need to be signed to transfer the titles of jointly owned real estate and other financial assets. Other assets, such as a stake in one spouse’s retirement account or pension, will require you to execute a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO). The QDRO secures a spouse’s portion of the other’s retirement plan. QDROs are also commonly used for alimony payments and child support. No one will be checking up on you to see that your marital assets were divided as ordered. It is up to you and your ex-spouse to ensure mutual compliance of your divorce settlement.
Modify Estate Planning Documents.
One of the first things to do after your divorce is finalized is to update your will and other estate documents. Failing to modify your estate plan after divorce means your ex could end up making medical decisions for you, taking over your business, and/or inheriting some of your assets. Virginia probate law typically removes an ex-spouse (but not former in-laws) as an heir in a last will. However, this practice does not apply to beneficiaries of a trust or proxies for medical or financial decisions. Remember to update your will, trusts, power of attorney, life insurance policies, and other estate planning documents to ensure your intended heirs are protected.
Divorce and Family Law Attorneys in Loudoun County, Virginia
Whitbeck, Cisneros, McElroy, P.C. is a full-service family law firm in Leesburg, Virginia. We provide legal assistance with divorce proceedings, child custody and support issues, and other family law matters. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.