When you file for divorce, it would be nice to think you’ve seen the last of your former spouse. Unfortunately, as your life goes on some aspects of marital life can linger if they aren’t tended to specifically. Your family law attorney should provide you with specific items that you need to manage, but there are some general best practices that apply to anyone getting a divorce.
From retirement accounts to life insurance, there are many places where a spouse is named as the beneficiary in the event of your death. With a divorce, these designations are not changed automatically, so it’s important to contact your financial institutions, insurance providers, and other places where your spouse needs to be taken off the list. Changing the beneficiary designations is easy to do and should be done as soon as possible.
Update Your Estate Plan
Under Maryland divorce law, following a divorce, the spouse is automatically disinherited. This does not apply to the many other documents that might make up an estate plan. For example, financial powers of attorney, revocable living trusts, and health care directives all may still name your spouse as a beneficiary, or empower them to act on your behalf. Make sure to review your estate plan with an attorney to get these documents updated.
Protect Your Passwords
Over the years, it may have been easier to let your spouse have access to any number of accounts by letting them know your password. That has to change immediately. Whether amicable or not, this is an important boundary to set for your future life. The normal warning not to use obvious passwords applies doubly when there is someone who already has that information, and may be able to guess if you don’t use a secure password.
Cancel Your Cards
Gym memberships, streaming services, or joint credit cards all may have made sense as a couple. With a new chapter in your life, you have a new budget, new credit and new priorities. Take the time to review your accounts and cancel those that you held jointly with your spouse. You can always open a new, separate account.
Manage the Mail
One of you has moved out, but important mail may still get delivered to the old home address. If you are the spouse who remained, as tempting as it is, it is illegal to tamper with or throw out your former spouse’s mail. Make sure that you’ve tended to mail forwarding through the postal service.
A good family law attorney in Maryland will be able to work with you on the particulars of your situation, but you should be making sure to protect yourself without waiting for their input.