As a divorced woman, you are no doubt looking forward to having the whole divorce process over with, so you can move ahead to your new life. If you're like most women, you probably think the past few months (or years) have been filled with enough emotional upheaval, not to mention legal and financial hassle and you'll be very glad to have it all behind you ... at last.
Of course, life as a single woman will bring new responsibilities, including all the issues surrounding your personal finances. Even today, it is surprisingly common for wives to remain uninvolved in family finances. If that was the dynamic in your marriage, then it may now seem quite intimidating to face all the budgeting and bill-paying, in addition to managing investments and debt, and saving for education, retirement and other long-term goals.
However, there is a bright side.
Throughout the divorce process, it's likely you've become intimately familiar with your marital financial situation. Now, as your divorce settlement agreement is finalized, you can use that know-how as you plan for a secure financial future. Here are a few important practical steps to help you get on the road to financial stability after your divorce:
Do the financial housekeeping.
If you changed your name after the divorce, you’ll need a new Social Security Card, driver's license, passport and credit cards. You'll also need to notify your bank, utilities, insurance companies, credit card companies, the motor vehicle department and your children's schools about any name or address changes. Titles on all houses and vehicles will have to be modified and recorded with lending institutions, and you will also need to update beneficiaries on your life insurance, 401k, pensions and IRA accounts.
To keep all these details straight, follow this checklist of financial tasks that need prompt attention post-divorce:
1. Obtain a copy of your certified divorce decree and make extra copies so that you're able to provide them promptly when needed.
2. Close joint credit accounts.
3. Remove or change your ex's name and address on all remaining accounts. This includes bank, brokerage and investment accounts, credit cards, automobile titles, registration and insurance policies, employer's records, IRS records, insurance policies, post office, professional licenses, social security card, and utility bills. Keep reading...
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