If you are going through (or just finalized a divorce), there are a lot of loose ends to tie up. Everything from your vehicle registration to your homeowner’s insurance likely has your spouse listed. The community knows you as a married person, your children’s teachers know you as married, and your employer knows you as married. While it’s generally no one’s business but yours whether you choose to get divorced, there are a lot of frequently overlooked legal ramifications to divorce that need to be addressed. Here are just seven of the most commonly overlooked things you should absolutely consider taking care of as soon as possible, either while getting divorced or immediately thereafter.
It should be fairly obvious why you would not want your ex-spouse to remain the executor or primary beneficiary of a will. Section 4-105 of Maryland’s Estates and Trusts Code makes it very clear that all provisions of a will that pertain to ex-spouses (including naming them executor or leaving them money) are invalid. There are ways to leave an inheritance to an ex-spouse in your will, if you really want to, but you should consult an estate planning attorney for guidance on how to do so.
Still, you should definitely consider re-writing your will, any trust documents, and your powers of attorney (if you have them) immediately upon either filing for divorce or right after the divorce is final.
This is generally more a consideration for women than men, but it’s a matter of preference. There are plenty of valid reasons to keep your married name, but if you want to change it back to your prior or maiden name, do it sooner than later. Also, make sure your divorce decree gives you the option, even if you don’t think you will want to.
This one is mandatory. It doesn’t matter how much you love or respect your ex; remember that this is about cybersecurity. Your whole lives were once entangled. Now they are separated. What if your spouse has a folder full of your usernames and passwords accidentally packed up in her stuff? What if in all the moving, documents were lost? Besides, you really don’t want your ex-spouse having access to your LinkedIn account or your checking account, do you?
This is probably the most commonly overlooked change. People often forget about that small employer-sponsored life insurance policy or that old whole life plan they bought 10 years ago. If something happens and you die, imagine how awful it would be for those funds to automatically go to the person who perhaps cheated on you or made your life a nightmare for years. Just call and update your beneficiary designation immediately.
Are you one of the millions of people who keep their entire life documented and recorded through social media? If so, you probably have thousands of photos and posts of you and your spouse. You may not care, but it’s probably a good idea to go through all of your tagged images and posts to do some housekeeping. Besides, future prospective suitors may not appreciate all those honeymoon photos floating around your social media page.
This should be figured out as part of the divorce, but now that you are single, you will need to change your status on your W-4. Don’t assume your human resource department will just bring this up for you. If you go all year paying taxes as “married filing jointly,” then declare yourself single on your 1040, you are in for an unpleasant surprise.
From work to your doctor’s office, everyone probably has your spouse’s name and number listed as your primary emergency contact. Update this to someone you would actually want contacted in case of an emergency. If it’s still your ex, terrific. But make sure to think it over.
If you are facing a divorce or other family law matter in or around Anne Arundel, Howard, or Baltimore Counties, call the Law Offices of Todd K. Mohink, P.A. today to set up an initial case evaluation. With offices throughout the area, we make it convenient for you to get the help you need, when and where you need it.
7310 Ritchie Highway, Suite 910
Glen Burnie, MD 21061
30 Corporate Center
10440 Little Patuxent Parkway,
Columbia, MD 21044