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Tasks to complete after a divorce

Once a divorce in California is finalized, there may still be more work ahead for the ex-spouses. For example, fomer wives and husbands who are changing their names will need to visit the DMV and notify Social Security and other agencies. Exes may need to be removed from medical insurance, and some people might need to obtain new health insurance.

To prevent any financial mishaps, it's wise to close all joint accounts. Assets that were jointly owned may need to be retitled. If one person gets the home, the mortgage might have to be refinanced.

Dividing a retirement account may be particularly complicated. A document called a qualified domestic relations order is necessary for pensions and 401(k)s. Usually, an attorney prepares the QDRO, which must then be approved by the plan custodian. The distribution may require being rolled into another account. While a QDRO is not necessary for an IRA, the distribution might need to be rolled into a new IRA.

Estate plans, including beneficiary designations, should also be revised. An ex-spouse may need to designate a new executor for the estate and draw up new powers of attorney. In addition, it's wise to completely change all passwords related to financial accounts (or any accounts, for that matter).

There could be a number of other considerations after divorce. For example, even if a couple decides to divide debt as part of the divorce agreement, a creditor could potentially still pursue both parties. The couple may need to reach an agreement about how to handle this. This is where a family law attorney could provide support.

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