When you and your spouse signed all the papers and received the official declaration that your marriage was over, you may have felt some relief. After all, whether the breakup was a devastating shock or you were the one who initiated it, a divorce can be emotionally draining.
You may feel that the mediation process allowed you and your spouse to maintain control of your decisions. Working together to resolve the details of property division, child custody and other issues may have given you a sense of closure, and you may feel ready to move forward with your new life. However, there are some final steps to complete before you can truly put this chapter behind you.
Focus on the details
As weary as you may feel after your divorce, you still must finish the process. You may have already found a new place to live and changed your mailing address, but some legal matters may remain for you to deal with, for example:
- Joint credit accounts: Close them, remove your ex as an authorized user and make sure your ex does the same for cards you have authorization to use.
- The house: If you are keeping the house, change the title to remove your ex's name and refinance to get your ex's name off the mortgage.
- Other assets: Retitle any vehicles or other property you obtained through property division.
- Accounts: Take appropriate steps to divide accounts as your agreement dictates, which may require a Qualified Domestic Relations Order or the completion of other documents.
- Insurance: Remove your ex from your policies or seek your own coverage if your ex's policies included you.
- Name: Your driver's license and other forms of identification may need modification if you are changing your name.
- Estate plans: This is a good time to review your will, trusts and powers of attorney, change your beneficiary or executor designations, and update your plan.
Other small details can lead to big trouble if you put them off. For example, as cordial as your divorce may have been, you may not want your ex to have access to your digital accounts, which is possible if you fail to change your passwords. There may be other factors to consider to bring complete closure to your marriage and the divorce process. Your California attorney can guide you through these matters and provide answers for any of your post-divorce questions.