A divorce is a life-altering event; it’s stressful, financially and emotionally draining, and it takes time to settle into life after divorce. Undoubtedly, your life will be different, and we often overlook the more logistical challenges of separation. Herewith are a few practical To Do’s to navigate your post-divorce period effectively to help you understand your new reality:
1. Draft a new will
Legally you have a three-month window during which you can draft a new will. Should you pass away during this period and have not yet drafted a new will, the court will assume you intended to disinherit your ex-spouse. If you pass away after this three-month window period and have still not drafted a new will, your assets will revert to your ex-spouse.
2. Change Your Last Name on Official Documents and Accounts
If you elected to change your name back to your former or original surname after the divorce, you would need to follow the process as dictated by Home Affairs. You will need a certified copy of your decree of divorce. Should you also wish to change the name of your child(ren)’s, the biological father’s written consent will be required,
3. Bank Account and Credit Cards
Ensure all joint accounts, including credit cards and store accounts, are closed. Open new accounts that are entirely under your name.
4. Get a Copy of Your Divorce Decree
After a divorce, it is in your best interest to get a certified copy of your divorce decree. In most cases, your divorce attorney will provide you with a copy of your agreement. However, if you ever need additional copies, you can obtain them from the clerk’s office at the court for a fee.
5. Change Your Passwords
You may have shared the passwords to personal accounts, such as social media, app-based home security, online banking, or streaming apps with your former spouse. Now that the divorce is final, you may want to change the passwords for your privacy.
6. Update Your List of Emergency Contacts
If your ex was listed as an emergency contact, you might want to update this information. In addition, update your child/children’s school with your former spouse’s most current contact information, such as phone numbers and addresses.
7. Sure that Your Insurance is in Place
Review all insurance policies—home, car, life, and health. Pay attention to the list of assets you have in your homeowner’s policy, such as jewelry, collectibles, artwork, and other valuables your spouse may have received in the divorce settlement. Notify your auto insurer of changes in automobile drivers, ownership, and addresses.
8. Change your policy beneficiaries.
You must also amend your beneficiary nominations on all your life insurance policies within three months after divorce. After three months, should anything happen to you, your current beneficiary nominations will stand. Not changing these may result in your ex inheriting from you years after your divorce.
9. Plan for the death, illness, or disability of your former spouse
Make provision to protect your maintenance order against untimely death, severe illness, or disability of your former spouse. Make sure that there is an education plan in place for your children that will continue regardless of the death or disability of either parent.
10. Your Budget
Whether you were the breadwinner or a stay-at-home mother, your financial status will change significantly due to your separation or divorce. To start rebuilding your life, you need to start with an income and expenses budget to ensure that you have a precise idea of what your new cost of living will be in the future, with or without the children.
11. Consider the appointment of a financial advisor.
When you were married, you were either jointly involved in planning your finances, or it was taken care of by your spouse. Now that you are divorced, you will need to review your plans and take sole responsibility for your finances. It is wise to consider the assistance of a financial adviser to analyze the amount you require to retire financially independent. Set retirement goals and investigate savings plans to generate the necessary future income and capital to fulfill your aspirations. Have a good life, disability, and severe illness cover your own life to provide for your children's financial needs. Now more than ever, it is essential to plan a proper budget. Your financial advisor will be able to assist you with a complete financial plan which will include the management of debt and savings.
12. Marital Status
Home Affairs will not register a further marriage if you are recorded as ‘married’ on the system. Send your divorce decree to Home Affairs and ask them to amend your marital status. This usually takes three months to change.
13. Medical cover
Make sure a medical aid scheme sufficiently covers you and your children. Sometimes, your children might remain or move to your spouse’s medical aid. In terms of your cover, take note of exclusion and waiting periods and consider Gap Cover for unforeseen medical circumstances. The list we have provided is only for guidance and is generalized. To be prepared for this transition in your life, you need to make a post-divorce checklist that best suits your situation. A divorce is a complicated process to get through. It doesn’t matter how long you were married to your former spouse; separating your life from someone is always a difficult transition in your life. You’ll have many feelings and thoughts to process after the divorce. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Set small goals for every day and prioritize yourself- physically and mentally.
I’m a qualified and admitted attorney with an extensive career in the corporate and entrepreneurial world. My passion for people has led me to qualify as a professional life coach as well as a trained and accredited Family Mediator.
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Your marriage has ended, and you are no longer husband and wife, but your parenting relationship will never end, and now more than ever,