Once a Final Judgment of Divorce is entered, and you are finally divorced, the question is what happens now?
It is important that you obtain a certified, gold sealed copy of your Final Judgment of Divorce and accompanying Settlement Agreement or Decision issued by the Court. You will be required to produce a copy of this sealed copy at a number of institutions to confirm that you have, in fact, been divorced.
You must identify what, if any, additional steps do you need to take to secure your receipt of assets or support under your Final Judgment. Are you now entitled to receive monies from your ex-spouses’ pension or 401K plan? If so, a Qualified Domestic Relationship Order (“QDRO”) will need to be prepared to effectuate same. Is child support or alimony to be paid through the appropriate Probation Department? Make sure you contact your county’s probation department to establish an account and any appropriate wage garnishment to secure receipt of those funds. Does a deed need to be prepared to transfer the marital home from joint names into your or your spouse’s sole name? Realty transfer fees and taxes will be applied to this transfer if it does not occur within a proscribed period of time. Do you need to execute any documents to transfer any other personal property to your, now, ex-spouse, such as a title to a vehicle?
If you have changed your name and are resuming your maiden name, you need to ensure institutions like your bank, credit-card companies, Social Security, the IRS and the DMV know that you have resumed use of your maiden name.
You should confirm that your homeowner’s insurance, electric, gas or other bills associated with any marital property are no longer maintained in your joint names, but now reflect your sole name.
Your spouse is no longer entitled to receive monies under your Will as your “spouse.” Therefore, an updated Will should be prepared to reflect your present wishes. You should also confirm that life insurance beneficiary designations have been changed. You should also have updated power of attorney and living will documents prepared.
Completing the above will reduce the likelihood that you will find yourself in any post-judgment litigation with your spouse.