It can be a tricky process to begin your new beginning. Here’s the advice to follow after your divorce is finalized.
Start at the End: Finish Your Estate Planning
If you haven’t started your estate planning, now is the time to begin. Especially if you have children, consider who you want things left to and which things to leave. Be sure to think in the long term: who do you want to be serving as either the executor or trustee of your estate when you pass?
Ensure that any beneficiaries named for insurance, retirement, and other accounts are in compliance with your marital settlement agreement or final judgment. In divorce settlements, life insurance can be used as child support for minors in the event you were to prematurely pass away, so make sure that payable-on-death accounts are set up correctly.
Next, look at your medical directives and decide who you want to be making those decisions for you. Often, people name their spouses as emergency contacts, but after a divorce, you may not want your former partner to be involved (though not in all cases, as some people do have great relationships with their exes).
Getting Your House in Order: Completing All the Paperwork
Make sure all the loose ends of the divorce settlement or divorce judgment are complete. Many people finish the divorce and then don’t actually carry out the work of closing bank accounts, dividing retirement funds, and finishing up other filings.
You don’t want to wait until you’re on the cusp of retirement before finding out that your paperwork wasn’t finished. It’s not uncommon that one party or the other forgot to complete some tasks in a divorce that happened decades before. Not only can this be an inconvenience, but it may also mean opening up a chapter in one’s life that they would prefer to have kept closed.
Thinking about Your New, Post-divorce Life
After your divorce is finalized, it’s important to figure out who you are now. How do you want your life to be different going forward? How have you changed in the many years that you’ve been married?
Take some time—especially before getting into a new relationship—to learn about what your goals and desires really are. If or when you do enter the dating world, you’ll have a much better understanding of what you’re looking for. As a family law attorney, I’ve done multiple divorces for the same client. After their second or third try, I’ve heard them say, “I wasn’t really clear-headed when I entered into this marriage.”
If you have been married for a long time, being single again feels really, really different, and maybe even empty. It’s nice to fill that relational absence, but it should be done methodically and with a lot of forethought.
If you’re interested in learning about legal services for all matters of family law, such as property division, mediation, and settlement agreements, call Chase, Berenstein and Murray at 650-642-3897 or send an email today.