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4 Things To Do After Receiving Your Divorce Decree

You'll probably feel a sense of relief once your divorce has been granted. But there's still work to be done. Here are four things to do once you receive your divorce decree:

One: Read the Divorce Decree

Believe it or not, some people will not read their divorce decree. People make the mistake of assuming they know what's in the decree, so there's no need to read it. You want to reread your copy of the divorce decree to ensure you are familiar with its contents, but also to make sure it contains no mistakes.

When reading the decree, make a list of your obligations and your former spouse's obligations under the decree, as well as the deadlines by which these items are to be addressed.

If, when reading the decree, you see any typos or other mistakes, immediately notify your divorce lawyer. He or she can take care of getting the mistakes corrected.

Two: Follow Through on Your Obligations

After reading your divorce decree, you'll have a list of tasks you need to complete. (For example, the divorce decree may require you to remove your spouse's name from your home loan by either selling your home or refinancing your mortgage.) Make sure you've added these to-do items to your calendar and address them promptly. You don't want to be in violation of your divorce agreement simply because you forgot to do something.

Similarly, you should also add your former spouse's obligations to your calendar. If he or she fails to perform tasks by the deadline, follow up with your former spouse (or your divorce lawyer) right away. If you let your ex miss one deadline, you can be sure that he or she will probably miss other deadlines.

Three: Update Necessary Documents

If you give it some thought, your spouse's name is probably listed on many legal and financial documents, including some you may not see on a day-to-day basis. Your legal name and address may have also changed. Among the documents that may need to be updated:

  • Your will and living will
  • Power of attorney
  • Instances where your spouse may have been named as a beneficiary, including life insurance policies and retirement accounts
  • Emergency contact information on file with your employer or your children's school and/or day care
  • Checking and savings accounts, credit card accounts and loans (particularly where your former spouse may have been an authorized user, joint account holder or authorized signer)
  • Tax withholdings

Four: Take Some Time for Yourself & Your Family

A divorce is a major life-changing event. It's stressful and disruptive to your regular routine. Take some time for yourself. Reconnect with friends, join a gym or plan a vacation.

If you have children, remember that their lives have also been shaken up. Give them extra love and spend extra time with them, and pay attention to their moods. Younger children in particular may have trouble coming to terms with the divorce, so pay attention to what they're saying and what's left unsaid. Consider talking to a family therapist if you think your children are having a difficult time adjusting.