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Creating your post-divorce to-do list

For many in Louisiana who begin the divorce process, getting it over with is a primary goal. Some may even give up their rights to fair asset division just to put an end to the emotional turmoil and upheaval a divorce may bring. Nevertheless, if you are in the middle of your divorce, it is critical that you remain focused and engaged to the end to ensure your post-divorce life goes as smoothly as possible.

Unfortunately, even when your divorce decree has a judge’s signature, you are not finished with the work of dissolving your marriage. Many do not realize there are further steps to take to complete the process and that neglecting these steps may result in frustration and serious setbacks.

One step at a time

When the court order or settlement is finalized by a judge, it does not automatically put into place the terms that you and your spouse agree to or that a judge orders. You and your spouse will still have to work through the details of your divorce terms and begin to rebuild your individual lives, including taking care of the following items:

  • Transferring the deed to the house, titles to any vehicles and ownership of other assets, or taking steps to sell those items as your settlement or order dictates
  • Obtaining a Qualified Domestic Relations Order to divide your retirement plans and pensions
  • Learning how your divorce will affect your tax returns and how you can minimize any negative outcomes
  • Setting up a post-divorce budget
  • Getting your own health insurance if your divorce removes you from your spouse’s coverage
  • Setting any spousal or child support payments for automatic transfer
  • Agreeing with your spouse on the most effective way to keep track of custody matters, such as with a shared calendar or co-parenting app
  • Changing your last name, if applicable, including updating your records for your banks, credit cards, the Social Security Administration and your driver’s license

The little things count, too, so you will want to take the time to change your passwords on your accounts, computers and other devices and sites to which your spouse had access. It is also wise to obtain legal advice for updating your estate plan, insurance policies and beneficiary designations on your other accounts so your spouse is not the primary beneficiary, if that is your wish.

While it may seem complicated, a little organization and experienced legal assistance can be helpful in allowing you to tackle each task and make a smooth transition to your post-divorce life.

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