Going through a dissolution of your marriage involves a number of both practical and legal steps to complete, all of which are easier to accomplish when approached in an organized manner. The same holds true for the steps needed after the divorce has been finalized.
To stay on top of the process, make a post-divorce checklist that includes the people and organizations that need to be notified of your new marital status. Dividing your assets and changing your name can have far-reaching implications, so getting those changes made quickly is important.
Start by creating a comprehensive list of who to notify. Keep track on paper or a computer spreadsheet, including space for who is responsible for each notification, the date notified and what, if any, follow up will be needed to ensure that all tasks are completed.
Who’s on Your Checklist?
Perhaps the most pressing issue to address is with regard to shared finances. Many people have been the recipient of unpleasant surprises when their ex has made a financial transaction without their knowledge. The sooner you notify your bank, mortgage company and credit card companies of your new status, the better you can protect yourself from this happening. Additionally, wills and retirement accounts will need to be altered to reflect your new circumstances.
Next, notify your employer, providing them with a new W-4 tax withholding form within 10 days after the divorce is finalized to reflect your new exemption status. The IRS also requires that you file form 8822 if a change of address is applicable.
Additional entities to notify with name and/or address changes are the post office, DMV, your children’s school and the Social Security Administration, so that you can obtain a new social security card. If the responsible party for phone, internet, TV, or utilities is going to change, those providers will need to be notified as well.
Items Specific to Your Divorce
Whenever possible, work with your former spouse to divide and conquer these responsibilities. Plan times when you can close accounts together for the accounts that require both of your signatures.
Making a list of post-divorce notifications and documenting each step will help streamline the process as well as ensure that nothing falls through the cracks. If you have any questions, feel free to ask an Orange County Family Law Attorney at Buncher Family Law for advice.