San Diego Family Mediation Center

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End of the Year Check-In: Post-Divorce Checklist

As we come to the end of yet, another year, it is always important to reflect on the year that is ending. In our own reflecting, we were thinking of ways to help our clients more after their services have ended and presumably, our time with them as well.

We came up with the following checklist that we will be sending to our clients but wanted to share with anyone who may have gotten divorced this year, or in a previous year and wants to ensure that they’ve done everything correctly. As you go through the checklist below, please keep in mind there are things that won’t apply to everyone, but if there is any doubt as to whether it applies to you, please feel free to give us a call. We are happy to look over your case, and if you need assistance with any of the below, we have some wonderful referrals we’d be happy to share with you.

Significant dates to remember & calendar

  • Future dates to transfer property or transfer funds
  • Dates when support payments will end (child and/or spousal support)
  • Date divorce was or will be final

Name Changes

  • Make sure before you change your name that all accounts are divided and in your name before doing so. Then change your name with social security, DMV and on all necessary bank accounts, insurance, titles, etc.

Close all Joint Accounts and Establish New Accounts

  • Bank accounts
  • Credit cards
  • Investment accounts

Insurance

  • If you are setting up new insurance, please be sure to do so promptly
  • Health insurance (be aware that after 30 days from the date the divorce is final you will no longer be valid under your ex-spouse’s plan)
  • Life insurance (update beneficiaries and open any new policies required by your agreement)
  • Auto, home, umbrella

Update Beneficiaries

  • IRA accounts
  • Life Insurances
  • Bank/Investment accounts

Pension Plans and/or Retirement Funds

  • Arrange for the preparation of appropriate stipulated order for a tax-free transfer of interest and, if needed, a joinder of a pension plan administrator. These documents need to be executed by the Judge and approved by the administrator. Examples are:
    • QDROs (Qualified Domestic Relations Order): make sure all necessary QDROs have been drafted, signed and submitted to the court. Once the QDRO has been certified by the court make sure it is transferred to the plan administrator to set up any transfers or distributions.
    • COAP (Court Order Acceptable for Processing)
  • Open new IRA accounts
  • Make any necessary transfers from one IRA to another IRA
  • If Military or Federal Employee, make sure you follow specific timelines and applicable rules for transfer of retirement funds and/or confirming continuing health benefits, etc.

Change or Establish a New Estate Plan

  • Retitle accounts
  • Review beneficiaries

Titles

  • Vehicles: transfer titles if necessary
  • Homes: have new deeds prepared and file with the County Recorder’s Office

Financial Planners/CPAs

  • Establish a new relationship or meet with your current CPA to discuss estimated taxes, review withholding and estimated payments and for any help with investments of the assets received in the divorce settlement

Protect Your Privacy

  • Create new logins for all accounts. Set up or transfer any bill pays
  • Make changes to cell phone plans

Organize

  • Keep your divorce documents in a safe place where you will know to find them.
  • We suggest keeping a digital copy as well in case you move and misplace it.