I know it can be overwhelming to be divorced, so here are some key items to check off your list once the divorce is finalized.
1. Update Your Health Insurance
If you had health insurance coverage through your spouse's employer before the divorce, you will need to cancel it and enroll in another plan if you want to continue having coverage. If you or your ex-spouse had Marketplace coverage, review the situation carefully and make changes as necessary.
2. Update your Other insurances too
When you were married, your partner was probably included on your insurance policies. Now that you’re divorced, make sure you update all of your policies accordingly. This includes homeowners or renters insurance, life insurance and car insurance
3. Change Your Tax Withholding
Divorcing spouses who used "married filing jointly" status for their taxes will need to change their withholding status with their employer so that their taxes are calculated correctly for the upcoming tax year. Depending on your income level and whether or not there are children involved, this may require some research into what deductions and credits apply in order to optimize this process—it’s best handled with the help of an accountant or tax professional if possible.
4. Notify Your Employer
It's important to update employers about any changes that could affect paychecks or benefits due to the divorce (such as a name change). This includes updating contact information such as phone numbers and email addresses; submitting new Form W-4s; reviewing 401(k) investment options; making sure beneficiary designations are accurate; and changing any court orders related to child support payments or spousal support payments if applicable.
5. Consider Getting (or Updating) Your Will
Now that you are divorced, if you have an accident and cannot make your own decisions, there is no one who can speak on your behalf. You need to consider getting powers of attorney so someone can make medical and financial decisions for you if something bad happens. If you have a will, you will want to amend it so that insurance or assets you leave behind goes to who you want. Your divorce in Illinois disinherited your now former spouse, but if you want your money to go to your children, your family or a charity, you need a new estate plan to make sure your wishes are followed.
6. Update your credit cards, utilities and other accounts
You should remove your now-ex from access to all of these accounts and makse sure that you are getting these bills to your email address or your house.
7. Put your documents in a safe place so you can find them in the future.
8. Take some time to process your feelings.
Some people celebrate and others grieve. Both are normal and reasonable. But if you find yourself feeling stuck, get help.
The aftermath of divorce can be overwhelming but taking care of certain details can help make things easier in the future. Once these administrative tasks have been taken care of, then you can begin focusing on living life anew.
If you want to be making these changes for yourself in the next few months, reach out to my office. I am here to help metro-east families turn their agreements into their divorce and help them do it quickly and efficiently. I am just a call or click away.