Once your divorce is finalized, it is time to begin laying the groundwork for your future. Finances are an important part of becoming self-sufficient and nurturing the new you. Here is a checklist of items that are important to cover when ensuring your finances are headed in the right direction.

  • Establish Yourself Financially.  If you haven’t already, you want to make sure you have a credit card as well as a checking and a savings account in your name. It is important to maintain or begin building your credit as soon as possible.
  • Understand Your Divorce Ruling.  In order to make smart financial decisions, you need to understand fully the financial ramifications of your divorce. Will you be paying or receiving alimony? How will these payments be structured? What property or assets will you be receiving and when? Are you eligible for a portion of your former spouse’s social security payments? Take time to discuss these issues with your lawyer to be sure you understand them fully.
  • Pursue the Paperwork.  Pay careful attention to all details and documentation surrounding your legal and financial status. Make sure you change any beneficiary information on insurance policies or pension plans. Be sure to adapt your will, trusts or estate planning documents to reflect your current intentions for the assets they cover. Also, take the time to make sure any documents concerning power of attorney or guardianship have been updated.
  • Be Insured.  Now that you are on your own, you want to make sure that you have all the necessary forms of insurance to protect yourself and your property. This includes health insurance, life insurance, car insurance and homeowner or renters insurance. Make sure all forms of insurance are in your name and that you understand the terms and conditions of each policy. Remember that you need to create a filing system for copies of all your financial documents and to keep an extra copy of these important papers in a safety deposit box.
  • Educate Yourself.  You don’t want to jump into major financial decisions before getting your bearings and making sure you fully understand the landscape. Many people find themselves in a situation where they are responsible for financial tasks that they never had to perform in their marriage. Take time to educate yourself and understand your financial options. Use some of the online resources listed at the bottom of this page or seek out a financial expert who can help you grasp a better understanding of your money matters.
  • Audit Yourself.  You don’t want April 15th to roll around only to realize you aren’t sure about your tax status or what to do next. Work with your attorney and your ex to ensure any outstanding tax filings from your marital period are filed. Make sure you have the knowledge or the support of a financial expert to ensure you can continue filing your taxes on time and correctly.
  • Create a Financial Plan.  After you have assessed your financial situation, made all the appropriate revisions to reflect your single status and gained the knowledge you need to manage your money, then it is time to create a financial plan that includes your budget, debt repayment and a savings/investment strategy. Depending on your financial situation, you may want to utilize the assistance of an expert to ensure you develop the best plan possible.

Source:  "Post-Divorce Financial Checklist" published at EqualityInMarriage.org

SOURCE FOR POST: South Carolina Family Law Blog