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Your Divorce is Final- Now What?

You’ve Got Your Decree-- do you know that there may be a lot of loose ends to tie up?  Here are Some Suggestions for Tying up Loose Ends.

If, as a part of the Decree, you  have been awarded a division of your ex-spouse’s retirement account(s), make  sure your portion of the account(s) is actually transferred to your individual  account, set aside in your individual name, or reserved in your name for  distribution at a future date pursuant to the plan.If

the plan is a “qualified plan,” such as a  401(k) or pension, follow up with your attorney within 60 days to make sure the  appropriate Qualified Domestic Relations Orders have been sent to the plan  administrator.[Beware: QDROs may take several months to be approved  by the plan administration, so calendar follow-up dates every three months  until  you receive confirmation that the funds have been  transferred.

Homestead and other tax exemptions  do not follow the new owner if the real estate is transferred – even if  quitclaimed from husband and wife  jointly to husband or wife  individually. If you have received  ownership of real estate via a Quitclaim Deed, you must re-file your tax  exemptions with the county. Take a copy  of the Quitclaim Deed with you to the county office in case it has yet to be  recorded and entered into the county records.

If you do not wish your former  spouse to be a beneficiary of your life insurance, retirement account, annuity  policy, life  estate, trust, and paid on death account, you should immediately  notify the company and/or plan administrator that you wish to change the  beneficiary designation. Keep a record  of your contact with the company and/or administrator, and continue to follow up  until you have confirmation that the beneficiary designation has been  changed. Trust documents, deeds showing  a remainder interest, and paid on death accounts should be changed as soon as  practicable  after the divorce decree is finished. Also, update your Last Will and Testament and/or Living Trust documents to reflect your new marital status and to name new beneficiaries.

Close any joint credit card and bank  accounts and/or transfer those accounts to your individual name. You may also want to monitor your  credit report for a year or so to make sure your spouse is not opening credit card or loan accounts in your name or otherwise using your social security  number without your  knowledge. If you have children, open a child  support account with the clerk’s office of the county where your divorce was granted  (if you didn’t already do so during the divorce proceeding). Notify doctor’s offices, schools, day care providers, and other healthcare or educational providers that you and  your  spouse are divorced. If special  arrangements need to be made for attendance at appointments and school events,  or for pick up and drop off of the children, provide a copy of that portion of  the Decree to the office and make sure everyone knows about the required  arrangement. Do not forget to change  addresses with all healthcare and educational providers (both mail and email) so  that you are getting all of the pertinent information.

If you have changed your name, you  will need  to obtain a certified copy of the Decree and/or court order granting  the name  change. You may obtain the  certified  copy at the clerk’s office in the county where the divorce was  granted. There will be a fee, and most  offices will not take personal checks. Come prepared to pay cash or ask your lawyer to obtain a copy for you.   

Check the Bureau/Department of Motor  Vehicles website for information and documentation you will need to take with  you to change your name and address on your driver’s license. Do the same for the Social Security  Administration. Make sure you have all  of the documents required BEFORE you go.Government  agencies do not make exceptions to the required  documentation.

Keep a copy of your Decree for  reference, along with a copy of the parenting time statute or guidelines . If there is ever a disagreement between you and your ex-spouse as to  distribution and/or parenting  time set forth in the Decree, those documents are  your “go to” resources for quick answers.

There are too many issues to address herein and I may not have covered your precise situation.  Its always best to follow-up or ask your lawyer to ensure you're taking care of everything you need to as you transition into your new life.  

At the center

Beckman Lawson, LLP
201 West Wayne Street
Fort Wayne, IN 46802

Phone: 260-422-0800
Fax: 260-420-1013