There are a lot of things to accomplish when you are going through divorce and starting your new separate life.
One of the most important steps you can take is to safeguard your credit. You want to think about getting a new credit card in your name so that you can start building your own credit profile. Your attorney can work with you on the timing of opening these accounts as to avoid any difficulty in the divorce.
The second step you should take is to create a banking account. If you and your spouse have joint checking and savings accounts, go to your bank and open a new account in your name. As with a credit card, it is good to work with your attorney on the best timing for this. Making a new bank account will make it easier for you to manage your money and will be accessible to only you.
The third step is to secure your data. Get a secure email address, then change all your old passwords. Change the passwords to any social media accounts that are in your name (and be careful of what you post on social media). Establish a separate address to receive mail. You can either use a relative’s address or get a P.O. box only your name. Consider requesting permission to have your lawyer deliver mail to a family member or friend’s address if you are unable to purchase a P.O. box.
The fourth step is to look for health insurance. If you rely on your spouse’s employment for insurance, start looking into your other possibilities for health care. If you are employed, you will want to reach out to your HR department to see what steps you will need to take once the divorce is finalized. If you are not working, you will want to research what options are available to you on the marketplace.
The fifth step is to make an inventory of your possessions. Make a note of the things that are uniquely yours, such as gifts or family heirlooms. If necessary, keep these things safe with a relative. It is frequently difficult to try and get important personal property back after the divorce is finalized.
The sixth step is to Update your insurance records. Most states, if not all, forbid divorcing partners from making changes to their insurance before the judge has granted the divorce its legal conclusion. You should make sure to have copies of all your insurance records, your medical records, and anything else related to the health insurance.
The final step is to update your estate plan. It can’t be stated enough how important estate planning can be during and after the divorce process. When you are getting started, it is very important get a medical directive and power of attorney in place at the start of your divorce. After your divorce you need to update your will, or even better, create a trust that properly protects your family. You do not want everything you gained in the divorce going right back to your ex-spouse.