5. If your divorce decree requires a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO): Provide the QDRO to appropriate banks, brokerages, pension plan advisor, 401k administrators, etc. Even better, have this step completed before your divorce is finalized. Make certain the appropriate documents are executed and recorded. Sign and deliver the necessary documents to complete the transfer.
6. Open a new bank account. Consider establishing direct deposit or income withholding for child support, spousal support and alimony payments.
7. Open a new credit card account and request a copy of your credit report.
8. Disinherit your husband. Write and execute a new will, trusts, medical directives and living wills and powers of attorney. Don't forget to change the beneficiaries on your life insurance, 401k, pension and IRA accounts.
9. Establish a system to keep track of all child support, alimony payments made/received, medical expenses, etc.
Establish good credit in your own name.
Good credit is the foundation of your financial future. Without it, it can be very difficult to get a bank loan and even hard to manage regular household expenses. Get a copy of your credit report (AnnualCreditReport.com offers them free of charge) and address any inaccuracies it contains. Then, if you already have credit cards in your name, building your credit is relatively straightforward: use your cards regularly, pay off the balance in full and on time each month, and watch your score rise!
However, if you're not employed and don't already have a credit history, the process may not be as simple. A few years ago, new federal regulations made it difficult for women with little or no income to establish credit on their own. The Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure (CARD) Act of 2009 was designed to protect consumers from getting into financial trouble by running up credit card debt they can't afford to pay, but unfortunately, this legislation also makes it difficult for "at-home" spouses without paid work to obtain credit on their own.
After a public outcry, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau recently proposed changes to rectify these unintended consequences. When enacted, the modifications will allow non-working spouses to apply for credit in their own name based upon shared household income. Keep reading...