If you listed your ex-spouse on your living will as your health care proxy, or if you don’t have a living will at all, now is the perfect time to make this update. A living will is a responsible thing for all adults to have. This document outlines what you prefer for medical care if you become unable to make your own decisions. Designating exactly what you want in terms of medical care eliminates the complication of having many people try to decide what is best for you. Instead, as part of a living will, you designate a healthcare proxy to be the one person in charge of carrying out your medical decisions. While a living will might seem like something that can wait for the future, it’s best to file one before an unexpected event happens.
Similar to a living will, the topic of life insurance needs to be updated or filed if you don’t already have one. A life insurance policy pays out a lump sum of money to the person or people you dedicate to receive the funds in the case of your death.
If your now ex was the beneficiary of your life insurance policy, consider if this needs to be changed completely or split between your ex and your children if you’re a parent. Beneficiaries can be parents, children, friends, neighbors, or even charities. Keep in mind that a life insurance policy payout can help pay off debts such as a mortgage, car payment, college tuition, or other day-to-day expenses, so it’s important to have a plan in place. Rates are typically better when you are young and healthy, so make sure to prioritize this coverage, especially after a divorce.
Child’s School Information
If you have children in school, updating your information with their school can be easily missed post-divorce. While disclosing the personal details of a divorce is not necessary, it’s important to provide school officials with any updates that might impact their communication with either parent. Things to update include:
- Phone numbers/email addresses
- Drop off/pick up schedule
- Emergency contact information
- Tuition payment information, if applicable
Making sure that your child’s school can reach both you and your ex is vital not only for the safety of your child but also provides them a sense of security knowing that both parents are still included when it comes to school-related functions.
After a divorce, renegotiating your budget can be tricky. If you had joint or combined finances when married, or if your spouse took care of the majority of the bill paying, you might find yourself feeling lost when it comes to handling your money. To get your affairs in order, you first want to revisit your essential expenses. Try tracking them either in a notebook with a budgeting spreadsheet. Compare these against the money that is coming in each month. If you notice that you’re spending more than you are earning, consider speaking with a financial consultant. Your budget might look different than when you were married, but through diligence, you’ll be able to readjust in no time.
Post-divorce, you might be tempted to post on social media. While changing your status is a healthy way to gain closure, be sure to keep posts brief and non-negative. This would be a good time to change passwords on your online accounts, such as email, social media, and anywhere else you wouldn’t want your ex-spouse to have access to. Even if the divorce is amicable and you both are remaining close, it’s best to have a separation of space when it comes to your online life.
This might seem obvious, but depending on your situation, you will need to update your bank accounts after a divorce. If you had a joint account, it needs to be closed with the money divided. If you don’t already have one, take the time to open a bank account in your name only. Remember to update any bank-related accounts on your phone synch as Apple Pay, Venmo, or Paypal, and consider changing the login information and password.
Follow this same strategy with credit cards. If you had credit cards under both of your names, make sure that your name is removed (or the account is closed), and that you’re opening a card in your name only. Depending on your financial situation, consider using your credit card for small purchases to begin to build your credit post-divorce.
Along with any school-related information, anything that you discuss with your employer about your divorce should be kept to a minimum. Be sure to update information like any change of address, tax filing status, and emergency contact information with HR. In addition, divorce counts as a qualifying life event for benefit coverage, so update your health insurance as needed.
Often forgotten about, the post office needs to be updated with any changes of address. Even if this is done right away, there’s a chance that you still might receive pieces of your ex’s mail and vice versa. Make a plan on how this should be redirected; would it be best to drop it off at the new address, or would it be best to return it to the post office? Not only does the post office need the updated information, but make sure to update entities like magazine subscriptions, student loan companies, or any other business that might send you mail.
While this is not a comprehensive list of everything that you need to update post-divorce, it’s a good start on topics that might be overlooked. Divorces can take time to complete, and the recovery of your personal identity can take a while to flourish. By making a checklist of commonly forgotten items to update, you can ensure an easier transition to your post-divorce life.