The end of the divorce case presents both parties with the resolution and closure they have been waiting for. Sometimes parties have been engaged in the case for months or even years before they are able to obtain a final settlement or a court order following a full trial. Whatever way the case ends, the entry of the final order is not always the end of all the issues. There are often some loose ends that need to be tied up even after the order has been entered.
The most obvious loose ends usually involve financial accounts. Although during the divorce the parties may have been required to keep joint accounts open, after the divorce is over it is very important to make sure that you no longer share any financial accounts with your spouse, unless ordered by the court to maintain such accounts. Look to your bank accounts, credit cards, and phone plans, just to name a few, to make sure that the accounts are now solely in your name. If your former spouse is still named on the account, he or she likely still has access to the contents, which could lead to disastrous results if he or she has a judgment entered against him or her for failing to pay bills or even simply decides to take what is in the account. Similarly, as retirement accounts are often divided between spouses in a divorce, it may be necessary for one or both parties to make sure that a Qualified Domestic Relations Order ("QDRO") is drafted and entered after the divorce is over. A QDRO will divide the retirement accounts as required by the divorce decree, so it is important to get that accomplished following the order.
It may next be necessary to give new attention to your estate planning. Typically a new will is required after a divorce to make sure that you revise the document to reflect you are no longer leaving your assets to your former spouse. Life insurance policies should also be revised to make sure the proper beneficiary is named. If you have children with your spouse, your divorce may require you to maintain life insurance for a certain amount to cover child support in the event of your death, so make sure that your life insurance policy is in conformity with the court order.
In terms of custody issues, you will want to make sure you keep a copy of the custody order available to you. In particularly contentious cases, some parties choose to keep a copy of the custody order with them as much as possible. Leaving a copy with the children's school or daycare could also be essential of the other parent is not permitted to pick up the children without your express consent.After a divorce, the bulk of the work is over, but parties need to pay attention to keeping those loose ends neatly tied. Contact us today at (732) 529-6937 to talk about your post-divorce strategy.