The divorce process may finally be complete, but it is important to be aware of the loose ends that may need your attention before you can move on with your new life. Some of the legal steps that you may need to take are:
- Officially change your name.
As part of the divorce, the state of Colorado allows you to restore your maiden name. No fees will be charged if the name change is done during the divorce process. If you change your name after the divorce, however, you will have to contact various government agencies and pay additional fees such as filing fees, publication fees, and certified copies fees.
Common matters involving a name change or an update of contact information include the Social Security Office, Department of Motor Vehicles, professional licenses and associations, Internal Revenue Service, banks and other financial institutions, credit card companies, insurance providers, and utilities. If you change addresses, it is also important to inform your employer, your child’s school, or any creditors.
- Transfer property.
Often times, the Permanent Orders or Separation Agreement entered by the court requires the parties involved to execute some form of transfer of property or division of assets. This may include the splitting of personal property, investment accounts, bank accounts, and even retirement accounts. New accounts must be opened in each party’s own names, and any joint accounts should be closed.
When it comes to real estate, deeds and other documents may be needed. For vehicles, titles must be signed and registered with the State Motor Vehicle Division. In order to complete the transfer, the necessary documents must be filed with the appropriate government agency.
- Review your estate plan and policies.
A divorce is a major life transition, and can significantly change the structure of your family. It is a good time to reevaluate your estate plan and make revisions to your Will, Power of Attorney, Living Will, and Trust documents. Carefully reconsider the designated beneficiaries of your current assets, as well as the assets distributed to you during the dissolution process. Be sure to consult with an experienced estate attorney to make proper updates to your legal documents.
It is also a good time to update your life, health and auto insurance policies, and your retirement or pension plans. This entails updating your named beneficiaries if you do not wish the proceeds of your policies to go to your former husband or wife.
After a divorce has been completed, each party has a legal responsibility to comply with the final divorce decree. Remember that you may end up back in court if you fail to follow the visitation schedule, make child support payments, or turn over property to your ex-spouse. Consulting with an experienced family law attorney may help you with all of the above decisions.