Getting divorced is sometimes a long process, and it doesn't always end when you receive your decree from the court. There are still a few loose ends you must tie up after separating (and sometimes even during the proceedings) to protect yourself and your assets going forward. Here are two things you absolutely must do when you divorce.
Update the Beneficiary of Your Assets
The first thing you should do either during the divorce proceedings or after the separation is finally legalized is to remove your spouse's name as the beneficiary from any assets he or she is currently listed on. It doesn't matter to the probate court if you and your ex are legally separated. If his or her name is on the asset as being the recipient of it in the event you die, he or she is going to get it.
This is true even if you get remarried. You designate your new spouse as the one who should receive all of your assets, for instance. If your ex's name is on your IRA account as the beneficiary, though, your ex will get the proceeds from that account, not your current husband or wife.
Therefore, pull out any life insurance policies, retirement account forms, wills, and other documents where you may have your ex-spouse's name as a beneficiary and change it as soon as possible.
Remove Your Name from Joint Accounts
Another thing you need to do as soon as you're able is remove your name from any joint accounts you have with your ex. This is particularly important when it comes to joint debts, such as loans and credit cards. Because your name is on the account, creditors can still come after you for the money if your ex-spouse stops paying the bills. Being divorced will not remove your liability in this area.
Unfortunately, this may not be as easy to do as it would seem. Lenders are tend to be resistant when it comes to removing the names of joint account holders because it makes it that much harder for them to collect the money if your ex defaults. You may need to work with your ex-spouse to get the debt transferred to his or her individually owned account or wait until the joint account is paid off and close it completely.
For more information about issues you need to tend to after divorce or help with your separation, visit a site like http://www.liebmannfamilylaw.com/.
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