Steps to Take after Your Divorce Is Final
Getting through the divorce process can be an emotional and financial struggle. When the judgment of divorce is finally entered by the court people often make the mistake of thinking they have reached the end of the divorce process. There are things, however, that need to be done following the finalization of a divorce. Dallas divorce attorney Rita M. Boyd explains some common steps you will likely need to take after your divorce is final.
Obtain Certified Copies of Your Divorce Judgment.
Shortly after the court finalizes your divorce you should order several certified copies of your divorce decree. Various organizations and entities will likely need a copy to make changes after the divorce. In Texas, you can request copies of your verification of divorce from the Texas Health and Human Services website.
Transfer Title to Real Estate.
Often, the terms of a divorce settlement or judgment include one party transferring their ownership in real property to the other party. If you are required to transfer your interest in real property you will likely need to execute a Quitclaim Deed and record it at the County Recorder’s office. If your ex-spouse is the one required to transfer his/her interest in real property you should follow-up to make sure he/she executes the appropriate documents.
Transfer Ownership of Vehicles
If there were vehicles involved in the divorce that were jointly owned and are now to be separately owned, contact the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles to find out what steps need to be taken to get your name, or your former spouse’s name, off a vehicle title.
Update Ownership of Financial and Investment Accounts.
If you have not already done so, make sure you contact banks and other financial institutions to have your ex-spouse’s name removed from your accounts and/or close out accounts and open new ones in your name only.
Satisfy Monetary Judgments.
The terms of your divorce settlement/award may also include a monetary judgment, requiring one party to pay the other party a designated sum of money. If you are the party required to pay, make sure you do so and ask your former spouse to acknowledge that you have satisfied your monetary obligation. This is typically accomplished by having your ex-spouse sign a legal document known as a “Satisfaction of Judgment.” Once signed you should file the document with the court.
Like most married couples you probably had a variety of insurance policies that insured both of you. Your vehicle and home insurance policies, for example, will likely need to be updated to reflect separate ownership. Health and life insurance policies, however, may be part of your divorce award/settlement. For example, if you have children one of you may be required to continue health insurance coverage for the children. In addition, if you have had coverage through your former spouse’s health insurance plan, you may be entitled to continued coverage through COBRA. Your divorce terms may also require either, or both, of you to keep a life insurance policy in place if you have minor children.
Complete and Submit a QDRO.
When a retirement or pension account is part of the division of assets in a divorce separate court order called a QDRO (Qualified Domestic Relations Order) may be required to divide the assets held in the account. A QDRO provides the retirement plan administrator with the necessary legal authority to divide the account. If your divorce included the division of one of these accounts, your attorney will prepare and submit the QDRO.
Update Your Estate Plan.
People often forget to update their estate plan following a divorce which can lead to things such as your former spouse inheriting from your estate and/or making medical decisions for you if you become incapacitated.
Check Your Credit Report.
It is easy to overlook a joint account following a divorce. To make sure you have covered everything, check your credit report a few months after the divorce. You are entitled to one free credit report from all three credit bureaus each year. You can request your report on AnnualCreditReport.com.
Contact a Dallas Divorce Attorney
If you have additional questions or concerns about a Texas divorce, contact an experienced Dallas divorce attorney at Rita M. Boyd, P.C. to discuss your legal rights and options by calling 972-380-8000 to schedule your appointment today.