Just Divorced: Practical Tips for a New Beginning

Once a family undergoes a divorce, there is a lot of change to be expected, even after hiring the best divorce attorneys to pursue the case. Your life will be different in all respects, including financial, social, and home life. The idea of being just divorced will have you looking at your life from a different perspective so that you can continue moving forward as successfully as you were before the divorce or better.

Hire An Estate Planning Attorney

Now that you are managing your estate independently, you want to start by meeting with an estate planning attorney and outlining the different details of what you own. Those who are just divorced have undergone mediation and may still not be aware of all assets that remained or were lost during the divorce. With this attorney, you can look over the properties, accounts, vehicles, and other assets that you have and determine how you want to plan them for their future.

In divorces where kids are involved, there is a need to be sure that they are listed as the beneficiaries of your assets and not your ex-spouse, which may have been the case before the divorce. With a local divorce lawyer, you can legally make these changes in the event of an unexpected death.

Getting Your Own Insurance

In many cases where the parties are just divorced, at least one spouse was unaware of getting their own insurance and depended on the other to manage those policies. After being divorced, you are now responsible for your own health insurance, auto insurance, and an affordable life insurance policy.

Regarding auto insurance, you’ll have to insure any vehicles you were awarded in the divorce. If they were not already in your name but then placed in your name, you will need to search for an affordable policy that will provide the coverage you need. In most cases, you can bundle this policy with your home insurance or have an agent check different quotes to find the right one for your budget. It is recommended that you carry full coverage on your vehicle, but each state has a minimum requirement for vehicle insurance. If there’s a loan still on the car, the lender will also require full coverage.

Health insurance is probably something that your spouse carries on you, and you will have to get on your own if you cannot get it through your employer. Some companies like Vista Health will offer you a quote to get the medical coverage you need for yourself and your dependents if you are the responsible party required to carry insurance on them. Health insurance is available to help with doctor visits, trips to the emergency room, hospital stays, and prescriptions that you may have to take regularly. Health insurance will also help you when you file your income taxes, offering you a tax credit for carrying a policy and helping you improve what you get back on your return or help reduce the amount that you will owe.

Probably the least thought about insurance policy is life insurance. It is critical, although it is not required. This policy can help you provide financial assistance to your dependents in the event of your untimely death. You can choose an affordable life insurance policy that will provide funds for your final services so that you are not burdened with covering these expenses while mourning. Life insurance can also be used to help cover other expenses that you were planning to cover like tuition, wedding, or a down payment on a home. You can customize to leave your beneficiaries as much money as you want and pay a monthly premium for that coverage.

Home insurance is another policy you must get if you have a property signed over to you in the divorce. Home insurance is not required unless you carry a mortgage, but it is heavily recommended. This policy can help you with repairs from accidental damages and liability cases if you are sued for damages by someone hurt on your property. Without home insurance, you will be responsible to cover these expenses.

Manage Outstanding Debt

What one doesn’t expect when just divorced is having to accumulate outstanding debt. Sometimes, these numbers are higher than expected and may even exceed your new shortened income. Meeting with a Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney is best if you are overwhelmed with debt. These attorneys will help you navigate your debt and determine your eligibility for Chapter 7. There are stipulations for this process, and it does get navigated through the legal system.

Once you have determined how much debt you have and what needs to be paid back, it can be consolidated into affordable payments based on your just divorced income. This will be taken into consideration so that you are able to make payments and keep up with your other obligations each month. You will have to outline your current monthly payments so that when your case is reviewed, they have all the facts and know exactly what you can afford with Chapter 7.

Establish Credit

If you are just divorced and your spouse was one to have everything in their name, it is time that you establish your credit and identity. One of the first ways to pursue building your own credit is to seek out a credit card that is not associated with your ex-spouse so that you can start generating the minimum credit. There are lots of credit-building credit card options out there that start with low limits and increase as your credit score increases.

Another way to build your credit is to take out an auto loan, especially if you need a vehicle. Before you decide, you must compare and contrast a bank vs credit union auto loan. If your employer is a credit union member, you should attempt to see what you are pre-approved for with their auto loans. Credit unions tend to have the best interest rates for auto loans.

If you cannot secure a loan through the credit union, then the next step is to reach out to your bank, as they will have the next best interest rates. It is important that you secure a good interest rate on your auto loan since you are short an income now and need to expand your budget as far as you can. Some other lenders are out there for folks with less-than-ideal credit, but the interest rates on these auto loans are high and could hurt your budget.

Property Taxes

Now that you have secured property on your own after just being divorced, you have also accepted the responsibility for annual property taxes for those homes, land, and vehicles. Once the title of the property has been transferred into your name, you will need to contact the tax office to see if they need anything else from you. You may also find that you have outstanding taxes on some of the property and will be responsible for making the taxes current at that time. Property taxes are paid each year, but depending on when you purchased property like vehicles, boats, and other miscellaneous pieces, you could be paying property taxes at different times for each piece throughout the year.

Filing Income Taxes

Now that you are just divorced, you will file your income taxes differently at the end of the year. First, you must reach out to your employer and let them know to update your tax code and complete the required state and federal forms that notate your status change from married to single. You will see changes in your check since the percentage of what you pay at the federal and state level could change due to the status change. Depending on how much money you are making, and if you are claiming dependents, this could either improve or reduce the amount of your check.

When you file your taxes during the next tax season, you will update your status to ‘filing single.’ If children are involved, only one parent can claim them on their taxes to get tax credits. In most cases, the primary parent is the party that uses that child’s information and files them as a dependent. You cannot use your children on your taxes if you are not the main custodial parent. Without the addition of dependents, you could find that you get less money back from your income tax return, or even have to pay in based on this new information. You need to budget for this when you are filing your taxes. If you find that you do owe money, you can file for an extension or a monthly plan with the IRS.

Secure A Moving Service

If you are just divorced and the home where you were staying was awarded to the other party, then you will have to move out and find somewhere else to stay. Attempting to move on your own can be difficult, and it is during this time that many find a moving service to be helpful. Moving services offer various options, depending on what you need. You can have them come and pack up some of the space for you and have them move it out to the moving truck. Sometimes, you can even have them drive the truck to the new home and unload your items for you.

Remember that you’ll have to pay for each service unless you are active military. The more service you need, the more you can expect to pay, so make sure you budget appropriately for your moving expenses. If you are not able to afford a variety of these services, you can ask friends and family to assist you if they are willing to help you. You will need to make sure that you are moved out by the date set by the court so that you are not in violation.

Reduce Some Outings

Because you are reducing your income, it is important to look over your budget and see where you can cut costs. While it is healthy to maintain a social life, you may need to adjust some outings to more cost-effective or free things. Taking advantage of free parks with your children, arranging play dates with friends, and even having friends over for dinner can save funds so that you can pay your bills. You and your children can maintain social interaction without paying entry fees to attractions or splurging on drinks and dinners out at expensive restaurants.

It is impractical to assume that you and your children will not want a social life if you are divorced. However, looking at your disposable income and seeing how much that has changed since the divorce is practical. For some, this may not be a large impact, but for others, it can be the difference in paying bills that month. This is why you need to look over your expenses and set up a budget so that you can be realistic about what you can afford on a monthly basis.

Navigating Life As Just Divorced

The first few months of being just divorced, you will see a lot of things and be introduced to different things that you may not have experienced before. The amount of responsibility that you have being the sole adult in the home now can be overwhelming. You must always manage a budget because that is always the biggest shock for those who are just divorced. Also, it is important to invest in quality legal advice. While there are fees for the services of an estate planning attorney and a divorce lawyer, it is an investment back into your future and getting your life back on the right path. Take advantage of these tips to ensure that you are able to navigate life as a new divorcee and rebuild your life so that it is stronger and better than it was in the last chapter.


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