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Important steps to take after finalizing the divorce

Right from the moment spouses decide to get a divorce, life can become a stressful whirlwind. Families have to negotiate agreements and details that will affect the next chapter of their lives as they reach their divorce settlement agreement.

Regardless of how long it takes individuals to reach a divorce settlement agreement, finalizing the divorce can be a relief for the family. However, finalizing the divorce is not yet the final step on the checklist of getting a divorce.

So, what more do individuals have to do even after they finalize their divorce?

First, divide the property according to the agreement

During the divorce proceedings, spouses negotiate a property division agreement where they determine precisely:

  • How spouses will divide their marital property; and
  • What specific assets spouses will receive after the divorce.

After the divorce is when spouses actually have to split up those assets between them. Arranging divisions and money transfers can be a time-consuming process. So, spouses should determine a plan for how they will approach the actual division of their property.

Is all of the paperwork complete?

This does not only apply to divorce paperwork – although individuals should make sure they obtain copies of the files and documents of their divorce for reference.

It also means that after a divorce is finalized, individuals will likely still have to complete paperwork to:

  • Notify relevant parties, such as banks or credit agencies, about the divorce and how the spouses are dividing the accounts;
  • Change the name on the mortgage or other loans according to the property division agreement;
  • Change the beneficiaries listed on their retirement accounts, life insurance or other financial accounts to remove their ex-spouse’s name; and
  • Change their name, if it is applicable, on their Virginia driver’s license, passport and Social Security accounts.

Completing this paperwork can feel tedious, and many individuals might wonder why it is important. But it is critical to take these steps and prepare for the next chapter of life post-divorce.

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