A divorce can not only be emotionally stressful, but also financially draining. Life as a newly single person brings on new obligations – including becoming independent when it comes to personal finances. The changes brought on by a legal separation do not end when the ink dries on the paperwork.
Five steps that can help you get your financial house in order
- Sever Joint Accounts & Open New Ones – all joint accounts should be canceled and closed if this has not been done already. This is because if these joint accounts remain active you could still be on the hook financially for any remaining debts or obligations. Moreover, due to these closures new bank, credit, and investment accounts opened solely in your own name must be created to replace the old ones;
- Estate Planning Tuneup – something many people forget to do, updating or creating a living will, power of attorney for healthcare and finance issues and other end-of-life documents should be done right away. Do not forget to change or name beneficiaries (a simple task that often requires completion of a form) for all retirement accounts, life and/or disability insurance, and other assets.The last thing you want is your ex-spouse to reap the benefits of these items due to your failure to make changes post-divorce;
- Rename All Assets – post-divorce, many personal and real assets need to have the ownership changed. This is known as “retitling.” This can be changed to your sole name or, conversely, to a living trust;
- Change Your Name – if you changed your name after marriage and have likewise changed it after divorce, make sure all of your accounts (and identifying documents) reflect the same information to avoid any future issues. Some examples of items on which to change your name include credit cards, bank accounts, retirement accounts, driver’s license, Social Security card, and passport;
- Forecast Finances – a divorce likely changes both the revenue and expenses side of your finances. For this reason, running tax projections with an accountant, analyzing or beginning to make investments, and creating a reasonable budget will all help you manage your new life. It may be necessary to hire different advisors in order to organize yourself post-divorce.
We Are Here To Help
Anyone who is considering or facing divorce should contact an experienced Tempe divorce lawyer to learn about rights and obligations under Arizona law that come with a legal separation. With years of experience in all matters relating to family law, the Law Office of Ronald L. Kossack can help guide its clients from across Arizona every step of the way. Contact or call (480) 345-2652 today to schedule your initial consultation.