Just when you think you’re done, you get pulled right back in. If you thought something along those lines as you read the title of today’s blog post from the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC I can’t say that I blame you. Anyone who has been through a divorce can tell you that it is without a doubt one of the longest, most difficult and emotionally taxing events that you can ever go through. This is true whether the divorce actually was that difficult or it just seemed that way.
I’m sure that what you want to do right now is kick up your heels and then put them onto a couch and take a long, relaxing break from anything having to do with “real life.” Whether your divorce is now over or whether you are just starting out I am here to tell you that the day you finalize your divorce is not the day to rest on the laurels of this accomplishment.
A good attorney will tell you what you need to know. A good attorney will tell you things that you like to hear but will also not hesitate to tell you the things that you need to hear that will not necessarily make you the happiest person in the world. Your attorney’s job is not to make you happy. It is to represent you diligently and competently to help you achieve whatever goals you have in your divorce. This is true for advice that your attorney will provide you with during your case and for your life immediately after your case is over with.
With that said, I would like to share with you some things that you should do in the time period immediately after your divorce has become final. While you won’t feel fresh as a daisy doing them, you will look back years later and appreciate the fact that you took care of business sooner rather than later.
Think about the children!
More specifically: think about YOUR children. I’m sure that you just spent the entirety of your divorce thinking about them, but now that the ink is dry on your final decree of divorce it is time to think about you need to do in order to tie up any loose ends associated with your kids’ lives.
For instance, you should go to each of your children’s schools and provide them with a certified copy of your final decree of divorce. That way if there are any custody related issues regarding your children the school will have something to go off of. For example, if your ex-spouse were to try and pick your children up from school on a weekend that wasn’t theirs the school would have paperwork to show that he or she is not supposed to do that. Trust me on this one- I have had schools and parents alike call me on Friday afternoons around 4:00 p.m. to complain about fathers and mothers picking up kids over the complaints of the other parent.
It is also wise to contact doctors, dentists, therapists, coaches and any other persons that your children come into contact with on a frequent basis to make them aware that you and your ex-spouse are now divorced. There may be no formal need to do so but it is helpful to provide information to people that impact the lives of your child. If nothing else you can help him or her to avoid awkward interactions and subjects either parents and children.
Finally, you need to get in touch with the Office of The Attorney General Child Support Division after your divorce if you are the parent who has been ordered to pay child support. These are the folks that will remove money from each of your checks in order to automatically pay child support. You should learn as much as you can about the process and any ins and outs that go into it. Ask your attorney about how it works so that you have a thorough understanding. If you are told something that does not make sense you should ask questions until it does.
Name change for women
It is often times requested in conjunction with a divorce for a woman to change her name back to her maiden name at the conclusion of a divorce. Husbands do not have any say so in the matter. I have had husbands ask me if they can either force their ex-wife to change her name or force their ex-wife to keep her married name. The answer to either question is no. You couldn’t force your wife to take or not take your last name when you got married and the same rule applies now.
If you requested your name change that doesn’t do anything for you except provide you with the opportunity to take the final decree of divorce to the folks who can actually (legally) change your name. The Social Security Administration will need a copy of your birth certificate and final decree of divorce in order to change your name back to your maiden name. Once you have changed your legal name you can take it to the Department of Motor Vehicles, your company’s human resources department or any other entity where your name is used in order to update it.
This is the step that so many people just wait on. It is all a process and is not fun so people just don’t want to take the time to do it. Again, do it now rather than wait and you can save yourself from needlessly putting more work on your plate later on in your life.
Update life insurance policies and your will
The last thing you want to do after a long divorce is turn around and have something happen to you where your ex-spouse would stand to inherit money or the proceeds of a life insurance policy instead of your children or other family member. The way to combat this is to change the beneficiaries on your life insurance policy and to update your will as fast as you can.
Some courts and some cases will require that you wait to do so. Technically you are still married during your divorce. Otherwise, as soon as you are no longer married to your spouse take care of this as quickly as possible. There is no reason to wait and the risks to not doing so are tremendous
Sign and file any legal documents that are relevant
This typically applies to people who have had property (usually real property) transferred to them or by them to their ex-spouse. Special Warranty Deeds and Deeds of Trust to Secure Assumption are two that come to mind specifically when it comes to your marital home. If you are deeding your share of your home to your spouse then you will sign a Special Warranty Deed to him or her. A Deed of Trust to Secure Assumption is signed by your spouse and given to you to protect you from any missed payments on the house note in the even that he or she cannot refinance the note.
Whatever position you are in you should file your documents with the court and have copies available to you. Many attorneys will do this for free. If yours offers this service you should check in a few weeks after your divorce has finalized to make sure that it has been done.
Questions on closing out a divorce? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC
The attorneys and staff with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC take seriously the responsibility that we have to our clients from the moment you sign a contract with us until your case has been closed out and finalized. Each step of the process is planned out for you so that no steps are missed and each client has their needs met.
If you have questions about anything that you’ve read today please do not hesitate to contact us. We offer free of charge consultations six days a week with one of our licensed family law attorneys.