When you file for divorce, you have a lot on your plate, and that can make you rather short-sighted when it comes to finances. But as soon as you get your bearings back, you need to turn your attention to finances, because it can be a pretty major indicator of your post-divorce health. In particular, there are three big areas that will require your immediate attention.
1. Beneficiaries And Estate Documents
No one wants to die leaving valuable assets to the person with whom they’ve just signed the divorce papers. If ever there was a financial consideration that needed your energy right away, it’s this one. Schedule a day where you make the rounds to all your important financial instruments — estate documents, life insurance, etc. — making sure that the person who gets everything should something happen to you is no longer your ex.
2. Credit Monitoring
People can do some pretty awful things to one another during a divorce, and one of the most common ways they “act out” is to run up spending on a joint credit card, thus torpedoing their significant other’s credit as some twisted act of revenge. First, resolve to not play that game. If you don’t give in to the urge for vengeance, then he/she will be less likely to as well. That doesn’t mean they won’t, however, so it’s important you sign up for a credit monitoring service and act quickly to dispute any charges or discrepancies.
Once the divorce forms are final, you should think about how you want to handle investments. It may take a bit but you’ll eventually have more discretionary income as a single person, so it could be a good time to start putting in more money to stocks and mutual funds. You’ll also want to make sure that your ex is no longer set to benefit from whatever existing investments you own.
For more on what steps you should be taking financially after the divorce, check out this recent Forbes piece.