Law Office of Stephen W. Penn and Associates

6 checklist items to managing post-divorce finances

Once settlements are finalized, divorced individuals can feel like a huge burden has been lifted - especially if the process was lengthy, complicated or contentious. However, the end of a divorce does not necessarily mean the end of financial concerns.

There are many changes a person will need to make after the divorce is finalized. Here are some of the key tasks to start.

1. Update your will. If your spouse is still listed in your will as a beneficiary of your estate, you will want to change that immediately.

2. Change beneficiary designations on other accounts. This includes insurance policies, retirement accounts, trusts, annuities and more. You may also need to update emergency contact information.

3. Establish your credit. Cancel joint lines of credits, and establish credit in your name alone if you haven't done so yet.

4. Research healthcare options. If you were on your ex-spouse's insurance plan, you will need to find your own policy. COBRA is an option immediately, but its intent is to be temporary and its expensive cost reflects that.

5. Arrange a payment plan for spousal support and/or child support. To ensure you are either making payments on time or receiving them on time, work out a payment plan with your ex. Will you depend on checks, automatic transfers or some other form of bill pay?

6. Sell or refinance your home. If your agreement is to sell the home and split the proceedings, get that process started right away and determine if any home improvement projects need to be initiated before sale. If you are keeping the home, refinance the mortgage solely in your name.

There is a lot to do to get your new life started, but planning ahead and initiating the process early will help you feel less overwhelmed and get everything on your checklist completed.

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