When you separate from your spouse and start moving down the path of divorce, there are many logistical matters to address. It is hard to keep track of all of the tasks required to separate yourself financially and legally from your spouse. Today’s post is the first in a five-part series providing straightforward checklists focused on extricating you from intertwined marital interests, accounts, and finalizing any financial obligations remaining from your property settlement.
The checklist is not in any particular order, and you can tackle the tasks in the order you see fit. This list does not address the deeper emotional work that may be required. As you address the mundane logistics of the dissolution of your marriage, a gamut of emotions may arise. Be sure to take care of yourself and take your time. The checklist does not need to be completed immediately. Building your marriage took a significant amount of time and the dissolution of it will take time as well.
Without further ado, here are the main financial tasks you should tackle upon divorce.
1. Meet with a CPA or tax preparer to:
3. Create a monthly budget for yourself.
4. Run a credit report on yourself.
5. Close joint credit cards.
6. Close joint bank accounts.
7. Open individual bank account(s).
8. Use a different PIN number for your debit card(s) linked with your individual bank account(s) than the common PIN numbers you used during marriage.
9. Re-direct any direct deposit income into your individual bank account(s).
10. Stop auto-draft payments for shared bills or transfer auto-drafts for which you are responsible to your new bank account(s).
11. Transfer utility accounts, if necessary.
12. Update beneficiary designations for the following: life insurance, annuities, retirement plans, individual retirement accounts, investment accounts, and transfer-on-death bank accounts.
13. If you need a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (“QDRO”) to divide your retirement account, follow through with your attorney’s submission to the Plan Administrator, pre-approval by the Plan Administrator, approval of the proposed QDRO, submission to the court for signature by a judge, then final submission to the Plan Administrator for division of the retirement funds. Be sure you have an account set up to roll over and/or receive the funds, if necessary.
14. Keep records of payment or receipt of alimony/spousal support and other support payments made to or received from your former spouse.
Not every item on this checklist will apply to you but consider each task and complete it, if needed. If you are not sure if you need to complete some of these tasks, reach out to our firm to schedule a consultation so that we can assist you as you move down the divorce path.
Lindsey Dasher is the Managing Partner at Dasher Law PLLC