Plenty of decisions are made during the divorce process, but there are many action items that cannot be taken care of until your Michigan divorce is finalized. It’s a good idea to create a post-divorce checklist to ensure that you stay organized and protect all your interests.
What needs to be done? Who will do it? When will it get done? Both you and your ex will have responsibilities once your divorce is complete, including transitioning to your own accounts and services. Some tasks will be tedious, but all are consequential.
The Post-Divorce Daily Details
- Mobile phones: When you have a shared cell phone plan with your ex, you will want to transfer your number to your own cell phone plan to ensure privacy and continuation of service. You will decide during your divorce which one of you is responsible, if it applies, for keeping the kids on their cell phone plan.
- Emergency contacts: Has your spouse always been your emergency contact for doctors, schools, and work? Notify relevant parties that things have changed and identify new, reliable emergency contacts for yourself.
- School: If you have school-age children, let the schools know that your household now looks different and that all communication should go to both parents individually, if it doesn’t already. They may also need to be aware of your parenting time schedule if it affects who picks up or drops off your child on different days.
- Email accounts: If you and your spouse have a shared email address, determine if one of you will keep that address or if you will suspend the use of it. If someone does maintain ownership, change the password. Even if you both have your own email accounts, it’s a good idea to change all your passwords, whether your ex knows them or not.
- Digital life: Beyond email, there is plenty of your life that is lived online – and some of it may have been lived jointly. You and your ex will need to determine how your shared digital assets will be divvied up, or if they need to be stopped and started anew in two different places. This can include everything from your Netflix subscription to your library card, e-books to online banking, patient portals to family photo storage. If you maintain social media accounts like Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn, change the passwords, even if your ex never knew them.
The Financial Matters
- Credit cards: Joint cards? Cancel them, or at least the primary cardholder should cancel the use of any other cards. If you don’t have any individual credit cards, open at least one in your own name.
- Beneficiaries: All accounts that have beneficiary designations should be updated to reflect changes, including life insurance and retirement accounts.
- Health insurance: Remove your spouse as someone who receives benefits. If you’re the spouse losing coverage, secure new health insurance coverage immediately.
- Estate planning: Update your will, power of attorney, healthy proxy, and other estate planning documents to omit your ex or adjust the detail accordingly.
- Taxes: Your divorce agreement will identify who can claim the kids as dependents. As for all other tax matters, it’s a good idea to get the help of a tax preparer in your divorce year to ensure that all taxes are done properly.
This post-divorce checklist only scratches the surface of the many things that will need to be changed during and after your divorce – property division and everything associated with it is a major element of the post-divorce workload. Work closely with your Michigan divorce lawyer to compile a full list of how life will need to shift once your split is finalized. Contact the family law attorneys at Femminineo Attorneys to schedule your consultation.