Aftermath of Divorce -Top 10 Things To Do Now
The Aftermath of Divorce: Is it Time to Relax?
Your divorce is finalized. Congratulations! You are likely mentally, emotionally (and perhaps financially) exhausted. You need “down time” – everything but work and the kids can wait, right? However, in the aftermath of divorce, the best thing that you can do is KEEP MOVING.
The process that you just completed resolved many legal issues focused on the past. Now is the time for you to focus on the future – “get your ducks in a row” – streamline your finances and simplify your life.
During a marriage, many decisions are made based upon the “we” that no longer exists. Think about all the decisions that you made that were based upon the “assumption” that your former spouse – your “Ex” would be involved in your life in the future. That has now all changed, by agreement, court order or both.
In the aftermath of divorce, here are 10 things you should do:
- REVIEW YOUR MARITAL SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT. Marital agreements often include provisions requiring action by you and/or the “Ex” in the future – refinancing of loans; retitling of real estate and vehicles to name a few. Know what these future actions are, when they must be done and who must do them.
- REVIEW YOUR DIVORCE JUDGMENT.
Divorce Judgments also frequently require future action by you and your “Ex”. Study the Judgment – know exactly what you and the “Ex” have to do and make certain it all gets done.
- IMPLEMENT RETIREMENT ORDERS. The obligation to divide retirement benefits is frequently a significant part of both marital agreements and divorce judgments. A special order, sometimes known as a “QDRO” is required to implement the division of retirement benefits. Find out who is to prepare the retirement orders and get them done. Even if your “Ex” is receiving part of your benefits, it is in your financial interest to make certain that the retirement orders are promptly prepared, signed by a Judge and implemented.
- REVIEW AND UPDATE YOUR WILL. Did you and your “Ex” execute Wills long ago, after the children were born? Do you have a Will? Is you “Ex” designated in a parent’s Will? Under your existing Will – is your “Ex” designated as your Personal Representative? – Does your “Ex” receive money or property? – Did you designate your former sister-in-law or brother-in-law as guardians of your children? Due to your divorce, Maryland law may automatically “revoke” the provisions in your Will relating to your “Ex” but not the balance of that Will. Does the existing Will “make sense” now?
- REVIEW AND UPDATE YOUR ADVANCE DIRECTIVE. You may have signed an Advance Directive and designated both a “Health Care Agent” and a Guardian to make health care decisions for you when you are unable; including directing that life-sustaining medical treatments be withheld from you. Did you designate your “Ex” or their relatives? Who do you want to make these important decisions now?
- REVIEW AND UPDATE YOUR POWER OF ATTORNEY. You may have also signed a Power of Attorney (POA) granting powers over all of your assets to an “Attorney-in-Fact” (AIF) to act for you. Who is your AIF? Is it your Ex? Your divorce did not cause your POA to be revoked. What makes sense now?
- CHANGE THE DEED TO YOUR REAL ESTATE. Does your marital agreement or divorce Judgment require that real estate be transferred between you and your “Ex”? Did you “get the house” – the vacation home? Has that been done? Do you want to add adult children to the deed?
- REVIEW LIFE INSURANCE BENEFICIARY DESIGNATIONS. Did you designate your “Ex” as the sole beneficiary on your life insurance policies? What about on the policy provided by your employer? Do you remember who you put on that form so long ago when you signed so many documents? Call your insurance agent – check with the HR department. Change your beneficiary designations now.
- REVIEW YOUR VEHICLE INSURANCE POLICIES. Does your “Ex” or their vehicles belong on your policy now? If so, for how long? Should you have your own policy? Call your Agent now.
- PICK YOUR DATES. Does your marital agreement or divorce judgment provide a deadline – a date each year by which you can designate your vacation time with the children? Do you know what that date is? Is this year “your year to pick first”? Know the critical dates that you must live by; put them into your smart phone calendar and set “reminders” to alert you that they are coming up. Do it now!
I Need Help Fast – Who Do I Call?
At COOVER LAW FIRM, LLC, we are prepared to help you with all of your legal needs promptly and efficiently. Howard County Divorce Attorney Fred L. Coover, Esquire has been helping families navigate their way through divorce for more than 30 years. Contact Coover Law Firm, LLC today to schedule your free 30-minute consultation in our Columbia, MD office – (410) 995-1100. We look forward to serving you!
Disclaimer: The information in this blog post is provided for general educational & informational purposes only. It is not intended to convey legal advice or serve as a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter.