Post-Divorce Financial Checklist (Printable PDF)
Once your divorce or break-up is finalized, it’s time to begin laying the groundwork for your future. Financial understanding is an important part of becoming self-sufficient and nurturing the new you. Here is a checklist to get you started:
- Establish Yourself Financially
If you haven’t so already, 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 edit your will, trusts, or estate planning documents to reflect your current intentions for the assets they cover. Also, take time to make sure any documents concerning power of attorney or guardianship have been updated.
- Insure Yourself
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 homeowners’ 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 system for filing your financial documents and to keep an extra copy of these important papers somewhere safe.
- Educate Yourself
You don’t want to jump into major financial decisions before getting your bearings and making sure you fully understand the landscape. Sometimes people find themselves in a situation where they are responsible for financial tasks that they never had to perform in their partnership. Take time to educate yourself and understand your financial options. Use some of the resources on our site 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 make sure that 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 develop the best plan possible.