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The Divorce is Final – What Now?

The Divorce is Final – What Now?

Many newly divorced individuals experience a let-down or depression following their divorce. Even if they handled their emotions well during the process, they are now faced with starting new and they are no longer focused on the process of divorce. Things are final and now they must rebuild and move forward, which can be just as tough as the actual divorce.

There are a few important things to do once your divorce is final. From tying up lose ends to setting the groundwork for a happy and healthy future make sure you take care of these things in the weeks and months following your divorce.

Focus on Healing

Divorce is an emotional experience and no matter how unhappy your marriage, you will need time to heal from it ending. It is important for you to be gentle with yourself and make sure you are moving through the grieving and rebuilding process in a healthy manner. Many newly divorced individuals seek therapy to help them through this transition.

Review Paperwork

Take some time to review your divorce decree so you are sure you have met any necessary deadlines and that you are following through on any obligations listed in the decree. It is also a good idea to tie up lose ends related to finances, insurance, and estate planning. For instance, close any remaining joint bank accounts, update beneficiary information on your insurance policies, and make any necessary changes to your estate. It is also a good idea to contact your child’s school and provide information about custody arrangements.

If you received any part of your spouse’s retirement benefits as part of the divorce settlement, you will need a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO). This is separate from your divorce decree and permits the money to be removed from your spouse’s 401K account. It cannot be created until the divorce decree has been finalized, but should be taken care of as soon as possible after that.

Name Change

Many newly divorced women return to their maiden name, which requires some paperwork and possibly a visit to the Social Security Administration. You will also need to update bank accounts, identification, and credit card information with your name change. The sooner you get these things in order the better, so your information is consistent. Now is also a good time to update emergency contact information with your employer and with your child’s school, if changes need to be made.

Focus on Your Kids

One of the best things you can do following your divorce is focus on your children. It is beneficial to them in the aftermath, but it also helps you feel better about your situation. Part of tending to your children might include working on a co-parenting relationship with your former spouse. If necessary, scheduling counseling session to help you settle into your new role and to help your child adjust to his or her new family.