Things To Take Care of After Your Divorce is Final

Live at Five’s board certified family attorney, Sonya Coffman, provides helpful information to Southeast Texas KFDM News viewers about important items that need to be addressed after your divorce is final.

  • Revise your Last Will and Testament;
  • Change beneficiaries on retirement accounts, life insurance policies, and payable on death bank accounts;
  • Ensure plan administrator of retirement accounts receives a certified copy of any QDRO;
  • Cancel joint credit card accounts.


Reporter: Well it’s one of the most stressful times a person can go thru but there are a few things you should think about and take care of once a divorce is final. Live at 5’s family attorney, Sonya Coffman joins us now with advice, and there are some things that you really need to think about that probably once a divorce is final lots of people just want to say ok I’m done and I don’t want to think about it again. But you do need to think about some things.

Sonya Coffman: First and foremost, I advise my clients to revise their Will because a lot of people don’t think about that they may have made provisions in favor of their former spouse and that may not be what they intend after divorce. In fact the family code says those provisions become void once a divorce happens so if you don’t update the Will monies could go into the estate and pass under the laws of devise and decent which is probably not what somebody wants to have happen.

Reporter: Exactly, so if you want to make sure you know where your monies go or any of your assets, redo your Will.

Sonya Coffman: Second important thing is to change beneficiary designations on retirement accounts and life insurance policies. We see that from time to time where people don’t change those beneficiaries and that could cause big problems when that person passes away.

Reporter: Not only that, probably bank accounts.

Sonya Coffman: Payable on death bank accounts, that’s another thing people forget to look at. That can have unintended consequences as well. Retirement accounts, we spend an awful lot of time arguing about that in divorce. Just because the divorce decree awards it to one spouse or the other, or divides it even, if that QDRO is not sent to the plan administrator then there is a big problem when that spouse goes to try collect on the retirement account, so make sure that certified copies get sent in of those.

Reporter: Ok, what else do we need to look at?

Sonya Coffman: Joint credit cards, that’s another thing, people sometimes forget, especially if you have an inactive card in your wallet that you haven’t used in a long time, you may have even forget that your spouse also is authorized to use that account.

Reporter: Do you simply cut it up or you need to actually call and cancel?

Sonya Coffman: No, you need to call and cancel those joint cards, and one way to be sure is to pull a credit report just to remind yourself of what accounts you have out there and what you may need to close.

Reporter: And what account maybe your significant other has opened up and you may not have known about it.

Sonya Coffman: Yes, we see that too.

Reporter: And anything else you may have questions about the best thing to do is contact your attorney.

Sonya Coffman: Contact your attorney, that’s right. So the work is not over just because the decree is signed.

Reporter: Ah, thanks Sonya we appreciate it and of course if you’ve got any questions, you can always email us here at the station or you can post your questions online at KFDM news. Thanks Sonya.