Adjusting to a post-divorce life can be an exhilarating and frightening experience. Often, the newly-divorced struggle with financial changes, lifestyle changes, parenting changes and schedule changes. Unfortunately, this level of chaos tends to overshadow other factors that need to be addressed. Several aspects of your married life might continue along the same, incorrect, path unless you change them yourself.
While many elements of your financial future will be negotiated during the support and property division phases of the divorce process, there are numerous policies that must be reviewed and revised after your divorce:
- Life insurance: Whether it is through your company or through an independent source, it is crucial that your life insurance policies correctly match your current living situation. It is also wise to revise the beneficiaries on every plan to ensure any benefits go to the right person.
- Health insurance: Generally, one spouse will pay for health insurance through his or her company provider. After the divorce, you must make changes to this policy. If it was your job sponsoring the coverage, you must remember to remove your spouse from the policy. If it was your spouse’s coverage, you must sign up for your own policy either through your company or through an independent source.
- Vehicle insurance: It is likely that your marital vehicles were split up during the property division phase. You must ensure your vehicle insurance matches the correct owner with the correct vehicle. This might entail canceling certain policies or transferring ownership, which could become a paperwork nightmare the longer you wait.
Additionally, it is wise to review your estate planning documents to ensure your new situation is reflected. From your will and trust to medical and financial proxies, it is crucial that your former spouse is replaced by another family member or close friend. If you ever decide to remarry, these documents must be revised yet again.
Do not hesitate to protect yourself and your financial future at all stages of the divorce process. Do not let your excitement over a new, independent future overshadow the challenging financial realities you might face.