Change Important Documents When You Get a Divorce

When you get a divorce, you’re dealing with piles and piles of paperwork. Every divorce involves a lot of legal language, address changes, name changes, account changes and culminates in a paper trail a mile long. In the midst of all those changes and all of that paper, it’s easy to overlook the need to make updates to very important documents.

Change your life insurance policy when you get a divorce.

Many people list their spouses as the beneficiary in their life insurance policies. When something unexpected happens, you want to know your family is taken care of. Don’t forget to change your life insurance beneficiary when you get a divorce.

Name another family member as the beneficiary, or set up a trust to benefit your children. Unless you want your former spouse to benefit from your life insurance policy, change the documents when you get divorced.

Update your will when you divorce.

Like a life insurance policy, most married people leave a large chunk of their estates to their spouses. When you get a divorce, don’t forget to update your will. You probably don’t want your former spouse getting a big cut of your estate, and you may want to name a guardian for your child in the event of your death. However, keep in mind that guardians named in wills aren’t legally binding on the court; consult a lawyer for details.

It’s especially important to update your will if your spouse is named as executor, as that means your spouse has the ability to dispose of your estate however he or she sees fit. Unless you’re still on really good terms, you’ll probably want to change that.

Change emergency contacts.

Maybe your spouse is your emergency contact at work, or at the doctor’s office. Maybe you just need to update the emergency contact list you leave for the babysitter. Regardless, don’t forget to update your emergency contacts, and adjust your former spouse’s presence as necessary. Your spouse probably should be notified if something happens to your kids, but you might not want your spouse knowing every little medical detail about your life, so make sure to update where appropriate.

Update personal information at school.

When you have kids, there’s even more paperwork you need to update when you get a divorce. If you and your former spouse have separate addresses and phone numbers, you’ll want to update the contact info on file at your children’s schools. If you’re sharing custody, make sure both you and your former spouse are on file. If you’ve got sole custody but want your former partner to remain an emergency contact, update the records accordingly.

Make a list of things you need to change.

All the necessary documentation and changes can be overwhelming. Don’t miss something important; sit down and write out a list of everything you need to update. Making a list will help you figure out if you’ve missed something, and you can also cross things off the list as you update them. Don’t let the important details fall by the wayside – be methodical and thorough when updating important documents after a divorce.