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8 Things to Update After Divorce

By: Z Family Law


The logistics of reorganizing your family can be exhausting - from handling the legal aspects, to finding a new place to live, nailing down new routines, and figuring out custody schedules - so it’s easy for some of the details and to-dos to get lost along the way. If you find yourself wondering, ‘What documents do I need to update after divorce?’ or ‘Should I change my beneficiaries?,’ we have the answers. Read on for eight things you should review and revise now that you’re divorced. 

1. Update your Mailing Address and Last Name

If you changed your name when you got divorced, and/or if you moved out of your marital home, you’ll want to make sure your new information is reflected on all your important documents and accounts, including your passport, driver’s license, Social Security card, as well as the records maintained by your employer, your doctor(s), your child(ren)’s school, and utility companies, among others. You may need to file a change of address and set up mail forwarding through the Post Office as well to ensure that your mail makes it to you.


2. Edit your Tax Documents and Put a PIN on your Taxes

Contact your employer to update your W-4 with your new marital status, and adjust your number of dependents in accordance with the terms of your divorce settlement or decree. While you're at it, put a PIN on your taxes, or update your existing PIN, so your ex-spouse can't access them without your consent.


3. Transfer Titles and Deeds. 

Depending on the terms outlined in your settlement agreement or divorce decree, you’ll want to formally transfer any shared assets such as real estate or cars solely into your name, and remove your ex-spouse’s name, as soon as possible after your divorce is final. 


4. Check your Bank and Investment Accounts and Credit Cards.

In many cases, setting up a separate bank account and credit cards is one of the first things you’ll want to do even before your divorce, but if you haven't done so yet, now’s the time to open your own accounts and credit cards.

Even if you already set up separate accounts, it’s a good idea to check your existing ones and run your credit - you may not even realize your ex-spouse is an authorized user on your cards, or you may be an authorized user on some of theirs, and you certainly don’t want to find yourself liable for your former spouse’s debt. It’s also a good idea to change your passwords, and review your settings for online payment accounts, such as PayPal, Venmo, Apple Pay, and Google Pay, as well as online banking and brokerage websites. While you're at it, set up credit monitoring so you can keep an eye on things.


5. Designate New Beneficiaries.

Review your beneficiary designations and update them as necessary, including removing your ex-spouse from life, car, and health insurance policies, and retirement benefits such as 401(k)s, IRAs, and pensions, in compliance with the specific terms of your divorce settlement or decree. 


6. Revise Estate Planning Documents.

Review and update your will, any trusts, medical and financial powers of attorney, and other estate planning documents to reflect your post-divorce wishes, such as removing your ex-partner as a beneficiary, designating a new executor of your estate, and/or revising who you’ve appointed as a guardian of your minor children in the event of your death. If you don’t have a will, work with a qualified estate planning attorney to have one drafted.


7. Change your Passwords.

Create new, secure passwords for all of your accounts. This includes your email and social media accounts, password managers, online banking  and bill pay accounts such as utilities, among other things. A strong password consists of a mix of characters (upper and lower case letters, numbers, and symbols) and is at least 12 characters long. Avoid using personal information that your ex-spouse might know, such as important dates or pets’ or kids’ names. 


8. Replace your Emergency Contacts.

From “ICE” (In Case of Emergency) contacts in your phone, to records at doctors’ offices, work, and elsewhere, designate new emergency contacts so your ex-spouse is no longer the one who will be contacted if something happens. 



There’s no denying that updating all your records and taking your ex’s name off of everything is a chore, but neglecting to update your documents and records can have serious unintended consequences, from simply creating confusion, to harming your financial wellbeing and compromising your privacy. Besides, the relief you’ll feel once it’s all taken care of is more than worth it!


As you update things, make sure to review the terms of your settlement agreement or divorce decree. If you have any questions about what steps to take, or what you can do under the terms of your agreement, contact a qualified family lawyer today. You can reach us at or by calling (301) 388-5528.

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