The Post-Divorce Checklist

September 17, 2020

The process of getting divorced is often long and arduous. In our experience the worst part of the negotiations (usually the alimony discussion) is often left to the end. Once that is hammered out and the agreements are signed everyone is mentally and physically exhausted and ready for a break. The professionals (attorneys, mediators, financial planners) are used to the process and will quickly move on to another case. But the parties have been through a unique and challenging experience. They leave the room a little shell-shocked!

From a mediator’s or attorney’s standpoint the work with the client ends at this point. Although it is tempting to just say goodbye and wish them well, the client would benefit from some guidance in the next phase of the process – carrying out the terms of the decree. There is much to be done to not only effect the asset transfers and account splits required, but also to set up support payments.

In addition to the tasks needed to implement the decree, other areas of the parties’ financial life may need addressing. For instance, estate planning documents may need to be redone, names changed with the Social Security Administration, debt settled, or insurance secured.

You cannot be there to hold the client’s hand through this transition phase but you can give them a checklist of tasks to complete post-divorce. Here are some of the areas to be addressed:

This is a quick example of items that need attention. We have a more complete list that we are happy to share with you. Email Jill ( or Susan ( for a copy.

It is unfortunately possible that if a party does not know what to do regarding carrying out the terms of the divorce, they won’t try to figure it out, they will just not do anything. This could lead to trouble down the road if, for instance, a joint credit card is left open and one spouse runs up a large balance. It is also important to remember that many individuals are not financially savvy and do not know that estate planning documents need changing, or beneficiaries need updating. It is very helpful to alert them to these important changes and revisions.

Just by handing the client a checklist, you are taking your relationship one step further and providing an invaluable service. And you could be saving everyone some headaches in the future.

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