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What to do after a divorce

After a couple in Oregon gets a divorce, they probably still have some additional tasks to complete. Couples need to separate their joint accounts and open their own individual accounts. Ex-spouses should be removed as users on credit cards and any other accounts.

Dividing some other assets is more complex. For example, if the couple owned a home and one person is keeping it, the other spouse may need to be removed from the mortgage. This could involve refinancing. A quit claim deed may remove one spouse from the title. A document called a qualified domestic relations order is necessary to split any retirement accounts that are not IRAs. An IRA does not require a QDRO, but the distribution should be rolled into a new IRA.

Some people may want to change their name after the divorce. They will need to contact various agencies and have their driver’s license and other documents changed. If one spouse is covered on another spouse’s health insurance, that spouse may need to be removed and added to their own medical coverage. People should also change their passwords on all accounts.

One area that may be overlooked is changing an estate plan. Wills and trust should be updated, powers of attorney might need to be redone, and beneficiary designations may need to be changed.

People may want to consult an attorney before taking any of these actions if the divorce is not yet finalized. For example, while some people need to take steps to protect themselves financially from a vindictive spouse, individuals are usually not permitted to close a shared account unilaterally. Removing a spouse as beneficiary before a divorce may require the spouse’s permission. Changing the beneficiary in this way could leave the other spouse financially vulnerable if the spouse with the asset dies before the divorce is complete.