If you’re headed toward
divorce, you may have a rocky road ahead. Not necessarily because anything particularly
bad will happen, but because it’s a highly-involved process. On
the financial front, there’s a lot to address and resolve before
the judge can sign off on the dotted line and make your divorce final.
Once someone has been through their divorce and made it out the other end
of the tunnel, they can really feel like they’ve been through the
wringer, emotionally and financially. They feel a huge sigh of relief
and they’re just ready to relax, focus on their family, and move
on to the next chapter of their life. But the truth of the matter is,
it’s rarely that simple.
Generally, after a divorce is finalized, there will almost always be some
loose ends to tie up. And no matter how much you want to look the other
way and wash your hands of it, you can’t. The best way to have a
positive outcome in your divorce is to walk into it with your eyes wide
open and that includes after the divorce is official.
After Your Divorce is Official
There will definitely be some things to think about after your divorce
is final. Here is a list so you can start preparing mentally:
- Think about your beneficiary designations on your bank accounts, retirement
accounts, life insurance policies, and estate planning documents. If your
ex’s name is still on these documents, you may want to change those
- If you have any credit card accounts that list both spouses or domestic
partners, we advise closing them immediately and opening a new credit
card account with just your name on it.
- As soon as your divorce is final, notify your employer so your income tax
withholding status can be changed. If your ex is the named beneficiary
on any of your employee benefits, be sure to remove their name.
If your judgement says that only one spouse will own an automobile that
you both used to own, you’ll need to fill out a Department of Motor
Vehicles Form REG 138,
Notice of Transfer and Release of Liability. This form allows you to change the title of the motor vehicle. However,
be sure to make a copy for your records.
- This is IMPORTANT: If you happen to file joint tax returns with your former
spouse or domestic partner and the state or the IRS says you’re
responsible for taxes or penalties but the divorce decree says your spouse
will pay it, you may be entitled to “innocent spouse relief.”
Ask us how this is handled on the state and federal levels.
Be Prepared to Go Back to Court
There’s one thing we want you to know right now. If your case involves
child custody, child support, or spousal support, there is a very good
possibility that you’ll have to go back to court in the future.
Why? Because, a lot can change in a person’s life after a divorce.
child support, or
spousal support order is issued as a part of a divorce, it’s very common for one
or both spouses to head back to court for a modification. These are called “post judgement modifications.” So, even if you feel like it’s all finally over, don’t
be surprised if you do have to go back to court in the future.
Here are some common reasons why someone might go back to court after their
divorce is final:
- A man is ordered to pay spousal support and his wife remarries. In this
case, he goes back to court to terminate the spousal support.
- A 13-year-old boy has been living with his mother, but he doesn’t
get along with her new husband. So, the mom and dad decide it’s
best that he move in with his dad. In this situation, the child custody
and child support orders will need to be changed.
- A woman has been receiving spousal support for some time but she’s
failed to look for a job and become self-supportive, so the husband petitions
the court to terminate the spousal support order.
- A woman has been paying spousal support to her former husband. She loses
her job and takes another one that pays her 25% less, so she asks the
court to reduce her spousal support payments to her former husband.
- A mother has been the primary custodial parent for three kids but she develops
a substance abuse problem. The father seeks custody of the kids and asks
that she start paying him child support instead of the other way around.
A man is arrested for a white-collar crime and is convicted and sent to
federal prison. He petitions the family court to reduce his child support
payments while he’s
Can I Change Things Without Court?
If you want to change something that has to do with your children, such
as child custody, child support, or visitation, you don’t necessarily
have to go to family court to do it. If you get along well enough with
your former spouse or
domestic partner, you can enter into a new agreement about any of these child-related matters
with the help of an attorney from our firm. However, we would get the
agreement in writing and file it with the court.
Changes to Spousal Support Laws
If you’re looking for divorce representation or legal assistance
with a post-divorce matter, we can help. We invite you to
contact our Los Angeles divorce firm today.