I’m Finally Divorced, What Do I Do Now?

by Dorothy Ripka, JD of Cordell & Cordell, PC

The finalization of your divorce is a moment you have been working toward for some time. It had been a vague point on the horizon throughout a long and difficult process during which you have no doubt learned much about yourself and your ex-spouse. But now that it is final, are you prepared for what lies ahead?

Although the finalization is the end of a process as well as the legal end of a marriage, you have no doubt anticipated that it is also a beginning of sorts. There may be some loose ends that need to be tied off in order to ensure that you can move forward deliberately without having to revisit issues that can potentially throw a wrench in your new plans.

Below are a few things that I can advise you need to do if they apply to you:


Insurance- Change beneficiary designations on all life insurance policies awarded to you.  Don’t forget ones through employment and other organizations

Insurance- Check the status of all policies relating to your automobile disability, homeowners and all other insurance policies

Real Estate- 
Transfer ownership with appropriate deeds and make sure the deeds are recorded, along with any transfer tax documents required by the state where the property is located.

  Re-register the title for the vehicles awarded to you.

Stocks-  Transfer all stock and security accounts and instruments following the instruction of the account holder or transfer agent.

Bank Accounts-  Make sure all joint accounts are closed and all account balances are transferred or distributed per the divorce decrees.

Retirement Accounts-
  Make sure to change all beneficiary designations on all retirement assets, including pensions, 401ks, and IRA’s.

Retirement Accounts- 
Domestic Relations Orders signed by the parties and court and approved by the Plan Administrator.  Keep a certified copy of the domestic relations order and approval letter in a safe place.  Keep the plan administrator advised of your current address.

Household Goods-  Transfer all household goods.  Make arrangements to have household goods awarded to you picked up from your ex-spouse and vice versa.

Dorothy Walsh Ripka is the Team Leader of the Cordell & Cordell, P.C. offices in Dallas, Fort Worth and Memphis. Ms. Ripka is a seasoned attorney who has devoted her practice exclusively to domestic relations. She is licensed to practice law in Texas, Missouri and Illinois.

Read more about Dorothy Ripka





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