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What happens after a divorce is finalized?

Jun 25, 2021 | Divorce

Many West Virginia individuals look forward to the day they can “finalize” their divorce. Usually, this means looking forward to the day when the dotted line is signed and all details are agreed upon. While this is certainly a momentous occasion, it is important to know that finalizing the paperwork does not mean the full process of ending a marriage is complete. After all, each party must now carry out everything that was included in the final decree.

Here are a few things that typically need to be done following that final signature. It is important to note that each situation is different and may require either more or less steps:

  • Asset division: People should immediately connect with the companies that hold their accounts to arrange for the transfer of funds as ordered. If a 401(k) or pension is involved, speaking to a plan administrator will be necessary for this step. Have the divorce decree on hand to make sure everything is split and transferred in exact accordance with the agreement.
  • Opening new accounts: To replace joint or shared accounts, it may be necessary to open new ones in order for asset division to be properly carried out. Even existing individual accounts may need to be looked over — for example, is the former spouse listed as a beneficiary? Are there direct deposits or access details that need updated? These are all things that should be looked over immediately.
  • Review insurance plans: Not only are life insurance plans impacted by a divorce, but other things like house, car, and of course health insurance may need to be looked over again. For example, if one party walks away with a shared vehicle but the insurance is listed under the other’s name, this will need to be resolved.

Along with all these logistical matters, many people often like to take the opportunity to do some thorough financial and future planning after a divorce decree is final. The decisions set out in the final documents will provide important “goalposts” for future planning and define the parameters around which one may need to live. Legal issues may also arise even after a divorce is final, such as requests for adjustments to child support and custody. Maintaining a connection with a trusted West Virginia divorce lawyer is important for such matters as well.