When the dust settles after a divorce, many people find themselves contemplating their next steps financially. This process is never an easy one, but there are some basic steps that should be taken to regain your financial independence.
One of your first priorities will be correcting your name with various institutions if it has changed in the Judgment of Divorce. The Social Security Administration should be at the top of this list. They will issue an updated card reflecting your new name and the number will remain the same. You will also need to update your driver’s license and any other government issued identification.
If you have not already done so, disentangling your credit card and bank accounts is another critical step in the process. Close any shared credit card accounts. Otherwise, your liability for your ex-spouse’s bills will continue. Open a bank account in your name only, and start with check #1000 to avoid any unnecessary concerns about having a new account. You may want to arrange for direct deposits and/or payments from your account. Then open two credit cards in your name only. By holding purchases to 50% of credit limit and paying on time, you will begin to build your own credit score.
Perhaps the most difficult step is to take a hard look at your new budget and making the necessary lifestyle changes to accommodate it. Be realistic. What worked for a married couple may no longer be possible. Stay-at-home parents may need to re-enter the workforce. A cut back on discretionary items may be required. A professional financial advisor may be a great resource as you start to establish your new financial independence.
Contacting your attorney to review and change your will and estate documents to reflect your new situation is also necessary. This includes a Medical Power of Attorney, or someone to act as your health care agent in the event you are unable to speak for yourself, as well as any medical directives you may have.
Regaining financial independence after divorce is key to making a fresh start. This guide, along with the advice of a financial advisor and your attorney, will serve as your road map to success. If my team can assist you with the process, contact Linda Sorg Ostovitz, Offit Kurman, at (301) 575-0381.
ABOUT LINDA SORG OSTOVITZ
Linda Sorg Ostovitz is a family law attorney. Her legal experience spans more than 32 years. In this time, she has served as a leader, educator and advocate. Mrs. Ostovitz holds a prestigious fellowship in the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. Currently, she serves as President for the Business Women’s Network of Howard County, by which she was chosen Woman of Distinction for 2014. Mrs. Ostovitz represents clients in Howard, Anne Arundel, Carroll and Baltimore Counties. Her practice focuses exclusively on divorce litigation and mediation, child custody and access, child support, alimony, business valuation, as well as property and asset distribution. In addition to providing legal representation in court, Mrs. Ostovitz provides mediation services to help families come to a fair and legally-sound conclusion outside of the traditional court proceedings.
ABOUT OFFIT KURMAN
Offit Kurman is one of the fastest-growing, full-service law firms in the Mid-Atlantic region. With 120 attorneys offering a comprehensive range of services in virtually every legal category, the firm is well positioned to meet the needs of dynamic businesses and the people who own and operate them. Our eight offices serve individual and corporate clients in the Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, and Northern Virginia markets, as well as the Washington DC, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and New York City metropolitan areas. At Offit Kurman, we are our clients’ most trusted legal advisors, professionals who help maximize and protect business value and personal wealth. In every interaction, we consistently maintain our clients’ confidence by remaining focused on furthering their objectives and achieving their goals in an efficient manner. Trust, knowledge, confidence—in a partner, that’s perfect.
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