What to Do After Your Divorce

  • Apr 25 2018

Going through a divorce, even an amicable divorce, can be a difficult experience. Once the divorce is final, you probably do not want to think about anything else related to legal matters or ending your marriage. However, there are some very important steps that you need to take to protect yourself now and in the future.

Below are several steps our Illinois divorce attorneys suggest that clients take after the divorce is final. If you have questions about any of these steps or other steps you think you might need to take after a divorce, please contact our office to discuss your concerns with an Illinois divorce lawyer.

After Your Divorce Steps

Step One: Change Your Estate Documents

Following your divorce, it is essential to review your estate plan documents.  The Illinois Probate code automatically revokes bequests made in a will and a revocable trust to a former spouse.  Illinois law also nullifies appointments of former spouses as executors or trustees of revocable trusts.  Illinois law does not address gifts made by a creator of an irrevocable trust to a former spouse.  If you wish to disinherit your former spouse following a divorce, a review of all documents will help insure your wishes are carried out.

Also, do not forget to review and change the beneficiaries of insurance policies, annuities, retirement accounts, bank accounts, and other financial accounts.  Illinois law does not revoke life insurance or retirement plan beneficiary designations following a divorce.

Step Two: Close Joint Accounts and Remove Access from Other Accounts

Unless the court ordered a joint account to remain open, you should close joint accounts, including credit cards, bank accounts, and other financial accounts. For all other accounts, review who has access to each of these accounts. You should remove your ex-spouse as an authorized person on all financial accounts. You do not want your ex-spouse to have access to, or authority regarding, any of your accounts.

Step Three: Use of Maiden Name

If the judge granted your request to resume the use of your maiden name, you need to get a new driver’s license and Social Security card. You should also change your name on all financial accounts, including credits cards and bank accounts.  Remember, you may need a certified copy of your divorce judgment to prove you have the right to change your name on government documents.

Step Four: Transfer Titles to Property

If the divorce judgment regarding property division requires either spouse to transfer title to real estate or vehicles, you need to do this as quickly as possible. Deeds must be executed correctly and recorded with the County Recorder of Deeds. Failing to take this step could cause problems in the future if you wish to sell the property or refinance a mortgage.

Step Five: Protect Your Data

Remember, your ex-spouse knows your email address, birth date, maiden name, the name of your first pet, where you went to high school, your favorite movie, the names of your parents & grandparents, and other information you would use for security questions, logins, and passwords for accounts.

To protect your accounts and your data, you must change all passwords and security questions. In the future, make sure that you do not use any information that your spouse would have access to or know about to secure accounts.

Step Six: Accounting Matters

Keeping detailed records of all financial transactions and property division matters with your ex-spouse could resolve future disputes. Therefore, make detailed notes about all transactions, including if any transaction deviates from the court order. Also, if you are receiving domestic support (i.e. child support or alimony), you need to speak with your tax preparer or accountant to discuss any potential tax consequences. In addition, you should discuss whether to change withholding information or make other changes to avoid a huge tax debt in the future.

Step Seven: Contacting Your Attorney

If you receive any documents from the court or your ex-spouse requesting modifications or amendments to your divorce judgment, custody, support, property division, or any other matter, contact your IL divorce attorney immediately. Failing to respond to these documents can result in a default judgment from the court.

Contact an Illinois Divorce Attorney for Help

There could be additional steps you need to take to protect yourself after a divorce. Your IL divorce attorney can review other steps that may be specific to your situation. Make the call to the Goodman Law Firm today to discuss your situation with an experienced Illinois divorce lawyer. Our lawyers are here to assist clients whenever they have questions or issues now and in the future.

Posted in: Divorce