A divorce decree sent after divorce is finalized

What Happens After Divorce Is Finalized?

When will my divorce be finalized?

Your divorce is officially finalized once you receive the court-filed Judgment signed by a judge, along with a separately filed Notice of Entry of Judgment. These documents confirm the completion of your divorce process.

How long does it take to receive my final judgment?

The time it takes to receive your judgment from the court after submission can vary widely—from weeks to months—depending on the judge’s availability to review and sign it. This period can often be frustrating due to the minimal actions you can take to expedite the process. Opting for a private judge could speed up this process considerably compared to a public judge.

What should I do when I get my divorce decree back?

Upon receiving your divorce decree, it’s crucial to ensure compliance with the court’s orders.  Make sure you review the decree thoroughly to make sure you’re in compliance. Every case is different. So, the exact actions you will need to take can vary based on the details of your divorce. Here are some common things you might need to consider implementing:

  • Update Legal Documents: Review and update your legal documents, including your will, trust, and powers of attorney. Ensure that your ex-spouse is removed as a beneficiary or executor if you no longer wish them to serve these roles.
  • Change Beneficiaries: Update the beneficiaries on your life insurance policies, retirement accounts, and other financial accounts where your ex-spouse might still be listed.
  • Revise Your Estate Plan: This might include creating a new will or setting up a new trust. Consider how your assets will be distributed now that your marital status has changed.
  • Secure Your Finances: Close any joint bank accounts and open new accounts in your name only. Make sure to refinance any joint loans or mortgages to remove your ex-spouse’s name from the obligations.
  • Review Your Credit Report: Check your credit report for any joint accounts or loans that still exist and work to separate all financial ties with your ex-spouse.
  • Change Titles and Deeds: If you have been awarded property in the divorce, ensure that titles and deeds are transferred into your name only. This includes vehicles, homes, or any other property.
  • Update Insurance Policies: Adjust your health insurance, auto insurance, and any other relevant insurance policies to reflect your current situation. You may need to find new coverage if you were previously on your spouse’s policy.
  • Adjust Your Tax Withholdings: Update your withholdings with your employer, as your tax filing status will change post-divorce. Consult with a tax advisor to understand the impacts on your taxes.
  • Change Your Name (if applicable): If you have chosen to change your name back to your maiden name or to another previous name, update your Social Security card, driver’s license, passport, and other official documents.
  • Inform Key Institutions: Notify all important agencies and institutions of your name and status change. This includes your employer, banks, credit card companies, utility providers, and the post office.
  • Create a New Budget: Your financial situation may have changed significantly post-divorce. It’s important to reassess your income, expenses, and budget accordingly.
  • Seek Emotional Support: Divorce can be emotionally draining. Consider speaking with a therapist or counselor to help manage the emotional impact of your divorce and transition into this new phase of life.
  • Build a Support Network: Reconnect with friends and family or consider joining support groups where you can meet others who are going through similar situations.
  • Plan for the Future: Start setting new personal and financial goals. Consider this a time to redefine what you want your future to look like and start taking steps towards those new objectives.

Creating a checklist of these tasks can prevent oversights and help sever financial ties with your former spouse.

How soon after divorce can I change my name?

If you requested to restore your former name in your divorce judgment, you can start the process of changing your name once the court returns your filed judgment.

Estate Planning After Divorce

Post-divorce, it’s advisable to update your estate plans to reflect your new circumstances:

  • Draft or update your will to redefine bequests that previously involved your former spouse.
  • Appoint a new executor if your spouse was designated previously.
  • Assign a guardian for any minor children to ensure their care.
  • Review and update beneficiary designations on policies and accounts that fall outside the will.
  • Consider establishing or revising powers of attorney and health care directives, particularly if your spouse was your initial appointee.
  • Evaluate the need for a living trust, especially if you have substantial assets or minor children.

Division of Retirement Accounts

Retirement accounts often need to be divided by a court order through a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) or a Domestic Relations Order (DRO), which must be arranged separately from the divorce judgment. This process can be intricate and should be initiated promptly to avoid complications, particularly with tax implications.

IRA Division

Unlike other retirement accounts, dividing an IRA does not require a QDRO or DRO but can be managed directly through a transfer or rollover by the IRA custodian, pending an official order. It’s critical to time these transfers appropriately to avoid adverse tax consequences.

Managing post-judgment divorce issues involves a series of critical steps from legal compliance to financial and estate planning, each requiring careful attention to detail to ensure a smooth transition into post-divorce life.

For any Legal Advice or representation at any stage of your divorce, contact Jafari Law and Mediation Office for expert legal representation that will help you secure the future for you and your family. 

Contact Our Divorce Attorney Today

If you need a divorce attorney in Orange County, Los Angeles, or Ventura County, contact us today. We are here to offer you knowledgeable, compassionate, and assertive legal assistance in all aspects of family law.


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