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What should I do once my divorce is finalized?

Many people mistakenly believe that the work is done once their divorce is finalized. However, this is not always the case. There are many things you should make sure you take care of after the final divorce decree is filed, if you have not already taken care of them.

First, you want to make sure that your life insurance policy is updated to reflect who you want as your beneficiary. If you and your spouse had joint credit cards, you will need to close those accounts and open new, individual accounts. If you and your spouse jointly owned a vehicle and the final divorce degree grants the vehicle to only one of you, you will need to file a Notice of Transfer and Release of Liability form with the DMV. This will put the title of the vehicle in the respective spouse's name.

If you are employed, you will need to notify your employer that your divorce is finalized. This will allow you to update the beneficiary for your employee benefits. Your income tax withholding status may also change. If you filed joint tax returns with your spouse, you may be eligible for innocent spouse tax relief if your divorce decree lists your spouse as responsible for the taxes. To request innocent joint filer relief, you will have to send your request to the appropriate organization.

If you would like to make any child custody or child support modifications any time after the divorce is finalized, you will need to file a new agreement with the court. You will have to establish that you had a significant change in circumstances that warrants a change.

Source: California Courts, "After Your Divorce is Final," accessed on Aug. 7, 2017

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