Life admin after divorce
Divorce proceedings can be stressful and lengthy, so once you receive your final divorce order (formerly known as a decree absolute), wondering what comes next might not be your top priority.
However, getting your life admin in order can help you move on after divorce and this blog will guide you through the process.
What practical steps should I take following divorce?
Reaching a financial agreement
If possible, it is best to sort out your matrimonial finances alongside your divorce but if you haven’t reached a financial agreement with your ex-spouse then you should do this as soon as possible. This is particularly important if you are considering re-marrying. Even if you have reached an informal agreement, then you should ensure that there is a formal record of this by asking a solicitor to assist you in obtaining a financial order.
Obtaining a financial order is important because a final divorce order only severs your marital tie, not your financial tie. Without a financial order in place, you or your ex-partner may be able to make a monetary claim against the other in the future.
Financial orders can be reached by agreement with your ex-spouse (these are called consent orders) or with help from the court. Once you have a financial order, there may be steps you need to take. For example, some financial orders require you to pay a lump sum to the other party, change ownership of a family home, or to deal with any joint bank accounts.
After you have reached a financial agreement, we recommend that you take the following practical steps to put your life admin in order:
- Keep your final divorce order and financial order safe. You may need these to show evidence of your marital status in the future.
- Update your Will. A final divorce order can affect the terms of your existing Will and you may wish to reconsider your nominated executives and beneficiaries.
- Consider changes to your name and address. If you wish to revert to your maiden name, you will need to contact the relevant agencies with evidence of your final divorce order.
- Check your death-in-service beneficiary with your pension funds. In the event of your death, the fund trustees will contact the beneficiary nominated.
- If you have not already done so, find out whether you are eligible for any benefits or discounts. For example, you may be eligible for universal credit or a reduction in your council tax if you are a single adult living in your home.
- Ensure that your wealth is protected, should you enter a new relationship. You may want to consider having a declaration of trust, a cohabitation agreement or pre-nuptial agreement in place.
In addition to these practical, administrative steps, you may wish to consider speaking to a therapist or your GP. A relationship breakdown often means a significant life adjustment, regardless of the length of the relationship or whether you have children and extensive assets together. It is really important that you look after yourself and take time to process the change that you are going through.
If you were a victim of domestic abuse, there are local domestic abuse support organisations that provide excellent support and advice.
How we can help
Our divorce solicitors work with clients across the UK from our offices in Bedminster, Bishopston, Bristol city centre, Kingswood and Thornbury. To speak to a member of our team, call 0117 253 0354 or complete our online enquiry form.