Steps to Take Following a Palatine Divorce
Your divorce decree is signed; however, the signature does not mean your work is finished. The signed order may end the marriage, but your responsibility is to tie up the loose ends.
Change Your Name
While your divorce decree may have included a provision allowing you to use a former name, there are steps you must take in order to legally change your name. To begin, you will first need to officially change your name with the Social Security Administration. A new Social Security card under your new name will be issued. Only then can you obtain a new driver’s license or state identification card and begin changing your name elsewhere.
Revise Beneficiary Designations
Illinois law provides for the automatic revocation of an ex-spouse as a beneficiary of your will or trust. The law does not, however, automatically revoke your ex-spouse as beneficiary of your life insurance, retirement, or other pay-on-death accounts. Hence, your ex could still inherit the proceeds of these assets. Even if your divorce decree included a waiver of your ex-spouse’s rights to receive these benefits at your death, you should change them anyway.
Appoint New Agents for Your Durable Powers of Attorney
If you do not want to be married to your spouse anymore, you probably do not want him or her making the decision to take you off of life support. Even before your divorce is finalized, visit your estate planning attorney to revise your durable powers of attorney, or download and complete the property or health care forms yourself.
Transfer Title to Real Property and Automobiles
If your ex-spouse was awarded the marital home, an automobile, or boat that was owned jointly, you will need to sign the appropriate legal documents in order to transfer title to the property and have the documents delivered to the proper record keeping official (the recorder’s office for real property, DMV for automobiles or boats). An experienced divorce attorney can prepare these forms and have the parties sign them along with the divorce agreement.
Open New Bank and Credit Card Accounts
Make sure to remove your ex-spouse’s name from any joint checking, savings, brokerage, credit card, or other financial accounts once your divorce is final. Better yet, open brand new accounts.
Notify Your Health Insurance Company
If you provided health insurance to your spouse, you should notify the plan administrator — along with human resources, pending the insurance was provided through your employer — that your spouse should be removed as a beneficiary of the health plan. Many of these require that you provide a copy — perhaps even a certified one — of the divorce decree. Your divorce attorney can provide you with copies once they are signed by the Judge.
Palatine Divorce Attorney
For more than 10 years, skilled Palatine divorce attorney Nicholas W. Richardson has helped clients at every stage of the divorce process, including helping ensure that all loose ends are tied up once a divorce decree is signed. For an experienced, compassionate attorney who will be with you every step of the way, contact Nicholas W. Richardson today to schedule a free initial consultation.