Now that you have been through the divorce process, your divorce has been granted and you have received your official divorce decree, what are your next steps? The dissolution of a marriage is a stressful and emotional process that substantially affects the lives of everyone involved. Although our professional staff at Kevin Hickey Law Partners will help you achieve the best outcome possible, the process does not end once the divorce process is over. There are often more things to be done after a divorce is granted and you start your new life.
After a divorce, many women want to legally change their name back to their maiden name. Arkansas permits the court handling a divorce to restore a wife’s previous name. There is generally an order in the divorce decree stating as such. You will need a certified copy to serve as proof of the name change along with other information such as your current driver’s license/ID card and birth certificate to make the name change with the Social Security Administration and Department of Motor Vehicles. If you do change your name, it is recommended that you make the change with the Social Security Administration and the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration as soon as possible because you will have a hard time doing basic day-to-day tasks. It should be noted that the Arkansas statute is silent on a husband’s ability to change his name during a divorce.
Although assets have been divided by the court, you still need to take the necessary steps to retitle them and update account information. If your mortgage deed has both spouses’ names on it, it may be necessary to obtain a quitclaim deed to make appropriate changes on the title of the asset. A quitclaim deed is a legal instrument that is used to transfer interest in real (real estate) property. It transfers any interest one party (the grantor) has in the property to the recipient (grantee). See our previous blog explaining more vocabulary that you may hear during and after your divorce. You will need to change the information on your vehicle title and registration as well. If you have joint accounts under both spouses’ names, we advise closing them completely and opening new accounts.
Retirement accounts and IRAs may require you obtaining a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) to divide the assets within. The QDRO creates or recognizes an alternate person to receive or assign to an alternate person all or part of the benefits payable to a participant. You will need to make changes where necessary to life insurance policies regarding beneficiaries.
We also recommend changing any shared passwords. This is just good practice to reduce the risk of unauthorized access to digital information.
Lastly, while we hope it doesn’t come to this, we prepare our clients that it may be necessary to file a restraining order to protect them. Even the divorces that begin in the most amicable of manners can often end with very hard feelings. Kevin Hickey Law Partners makes every effort to end with a well-written settlement agreement containing language to cover these types of events addressing violations by contempt, but former spouses can change, causing a need for you to have the proper documentation in place. You may also find a need to file a request to enforce the divorce decree. To request an enforcement, you will typically need to file a contempt case, which can be complex. We will help you determine the pros of cons before any official filing. We have found that a warning letter is often effective in these situations, thus we can avoid filing an official enforcement request.
When you hire Kevin Hickey Law Partners, we look out for your interests during the divorce and well beyond to assure you that all the necessary pre-divorce and post-divorce items are thought of and handled. We will be with you every step of the way. We aim to help our clients take the intimidation out of the entire process by offering guidance on the necessary steps.