BLOG: What do you need to do after your divorce is finalised?
But what do you need to do to finish your divorce admin?
Your decree absolute
First, get a copy of your decree absolute and any consent order that has been filed. Your family law attorney should be able to help you with this. Also, keep a copy of the original marriage certificate. You will need these to prove to various agencies that you are now divorced. This especially applies to financial institutions such as mortgage and pension companies, who will only amend their records after viewing the official paperwork. Store these safely electronically and in hard copy, as you will need them.
Change your name
If you need to change your name, do this right away. You’ll need a copy of your decree absolute and your marriage certificate. You will need to inform the DVLA of any new name and address so your driving licence can be amended. Failure to do this could potentially result in you being fined for failure to notify the DVLA of a change of name. There is a fee for this.
Contact your doctor and update the NHS with details of any new name and address. You don’t want to miss any appointment notifications for any upcoming visits for you or your children.
Contact your bank
You will need to arrange to change your bank and credit cards. Open a new account if you need to and make sure all your standing orders and direct debits are connected to the right account. Taking the time to sort out all your bank details will save you so much time and energy.
If bills don’t get paid from the right bank account and you get cut off, it will be so frustrating. Make sure you are paying for the TV licence at the correct address too.
Many of these changes don’t have a cost associated with them, it’s just the time and effort needed to make sure everything is switched over to the right bank details. Close any old bank accounts you no longer need.
Contact your local passport issuing office and renew your passport to show your new name. If you are planning on going away soon, the airline tickets must match the name on your passport. So, make sure you book any holidays in the name you will be using on the new passport.
Contact your local council and tell it of your new address for council tax reasons and make sure you amend your entry on the electoral roll for voting rights.
Make a new will
Moving forward after divorce means thinking about a new will. Although the divorce ends all inheritance rights between spouses, it’s important to write a new will to set out clearly where you want your inheritance and family assets to go.
If you leave your old will in place, and your former spouse was the sole beneficiary, you would be considered as dying without leaving a will and your estate may be dealt with according to the rules of intestacy. You probably don’t want this, so write a new will. There are many will writing services offered online, especially in the charity section where companies will write the will for you if you are prepared to leave a legacy to the charity.
Finally, after a few weeks of having dealt with the immediate admin, check that the bigger changes from the divorce are concluded. Check with your solicitor that the property transfer has been completed if this is needed.
According to a divorce attorney and child custody lawyer, you have to make sure that any court-ordered maintenance payments are coming in properly. If the Child Maintenance Services (CMS) are involved, check whether they completed their enquiries to make sure your ex-spouse is paying the correct amount and on time. Ensure the financial consent order you argued about in the divorce is being put into effect.
Once you have done all these things, you can start to relax. The divorce is over and you can begin again. Treat yourself to new clothes and a few nights out – your new life starts here.
Chris Sweetman is solicitor and founder director of Fair Result