5 Things You Should Do After Getting Divorced
Getting divorced is a turbulent time and it can seem like there is a never-ending list of chores to be completed, both during and after separation.
Our divorce experts have put together a simple but useful resource to help give you the best start in your new life, avoiding some of the most commonly encountered pitfalls.
So, without further ado, here are 5 of the most important things you need to do after getting divorced.
1. Make a will
Divorce does not revoke a will that has been made during the marriage. But once the decree absolute has been issued, the former spouse of the testator will be treated as if they have died for purposes of the will.
Therefore any instructions in the will to leave assets to their spouse will be disregarded from the point at which the divorce takes effect.
This means that, if the former spouse is the sole beneficiary in the will, the testator will be considered intestate in the event of their death – and their estate will be dealt with according to the Rules of Intestacy.
To ensure that assets are distributed according to your intentions, rather than being determined by the Rules of Intestacy, it is always advisable to draft a new will upon divorce.
2. Change your name
Although an increasing number of wives choose to keep their maiden names upon marriage, it is still common for them to take their husband’s name.
When they get divorced, they will often want to change their name back to their maiden name.
It is sometimes possible to revert to your maiden name simply by providing a copy of the marriage certificate and decree absolute to the relevant record holder (eg a bank).
But certain organisations may demand a deed poll in order to change a name on their database or records.
A deed poll is essentially a legal document that officially proves a change of name. There are two ways to obtain a deed poll:
- Enrolled deed poll – this is available to anyone who is 18 or over. It entails putting your new name on public record by enrolling it at the Royal Courts of Justice. Click here for information on obtaining an enrolled deed poll.
- Unenrolled deed poll – this is available to anyone who is 16 or over. Click here for instructions to make an unenrolled deed poll. Not all organisations will accept an unenrolled deed poll.
3. Close any joint bank or savings accounts
The financial settlement will generally dictate how any money in shared bank accounts is to be divided up between the two divorcing parties.
There are various practical steps that should be considered when splitting any joint accounts:
- Set up your own personal accounts
- Inform any third parties to ensure that future wages, invoice payments, or benefits are paid into the relevant personal account instead of the joint accounts
- Move across direct debits, standing orders, and regular payments from joint accounts to the relevant personal accounts
- Pay off any overdrafts in the joint accounts
- Move any money from the joint accounts to personal accounts
- Officially close the joint accounts
4. Ensure your financial consent order is put into legal effect
A financial consent order is used to provide legal standing to financial settlements upon divorce.
It consists of a written document setting out the agreement reached between the divorcing parties regarding the division of assets, along with any ongoing financial obligations such as maintenance payments.
In order to be legally binding, a consent order must be approved by the court.
Once the financial consent order has been issued, it will then be necessary to ensure the instructions of the divorce settlement are carried out, eg.
- Property Transfer – this is where ownership of the matrimonial home is transferred to one spouse. It can sometimes also involve transferring a mortgage or converting a joint mortgage into an individual mortgage.
- Selling the family home – divorcing couples often decide to put their shared marital property on the market and share any profit according to the terms of their financial settlement.
- Maintenance – divorce settlements will often include any child or spousal maintenance for a specified amount of time (eg until any children turn 18).
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5. Speak with a financial advisor
An independent financial adviser (IFA) is a professional financial advisor regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
IFAs provide independent and impartial advice to their clients on a wide range of financial matters.
Anyone who has just gone through a divorce will normally be facing brand new financial circumstances, and an IFA will be able to provide them with relevant advice, from tax-efficient savings to mortgages.