How to move on after divorce

What Should I Do Immediately After Divorce?

You might be wondering about what should I do immediately after divorce?

Divorce can be an emotionally painful and stressful experience. It brings many changes and a lot of uncertainty. If you had a divorce and live in Utah, there are some necessary legal and financial steps you need to take right away to protect yourself, your children (if applicable), and your assets. Here is a guide to what to do immediately after your divorce:

16 Things To Do Immediately After Divorce

Get Copies of Your Legal Documents

After your divorce is finalized, get certified copies of all essential legal paperwork. This includes your divorce decree, which outlines the final terms of your divorce settlement. It takes 90 days to finalize a divorce in Utah.

If you have minor children, get copies of formal child custody agreements or parenting plan orders. Also, get copies of name change forms if you are reverting your last name after divorce.

You’ll also want copies of any paperwork related to the division of assets, including documents about property, financial accounts, vehicles, and other valuables.

Update Your Legal Name

If you change your last name when you get married, one of the first things you will want to do is legally change it back to your maiden name or another name if desired. You can request a name change in Utah as part of the divorce paperwork. The court order granting your divorce should specify your new legal name.

Make copies of this court order and use it to update your name on your social security card, driver’s license, passport, vehicle registration, voter registration, financial accounts, insurance policies, and anywhere else your legal name appears. Inform employers, government agencies, banks, schools, and service providers of your name change.

Sever Joint Accounts

If you have any joint accounts like bank accounts or credit cards, remove your ex-spouse from the accounts. Open new individual accounts in your name only.

Make sure to update account numbers and contact information with employers for direct deposit of paychecks and with companies who debit payments from your accounts.

File a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO)

If you have retirement accounts like a 401(k) or pension that must be divided with an ex-spouse after divorce, you must file a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO). This is a separate court order that instructs how the retirement account will be split.

First, the QDRO gets drafted, usually by an attorney. It details how much of the account will be assigned to each spouse, how future contributions and investment earnings will be handled, the timing of payments, and more. The QDRO must follow specific guidelines to be qualified.

Change Your Will and Beneficiaries

Meet with an estate planning attorney to draft a new will; living will, and medical power of attorney, and update beneficiaries on insurance policies if needed to reflect your new status as divorced. Make sure your intentions for inheritance and medical decision-making are legally documented.

Review Insurance Policies

You will likely need to obtain health, dental, vision, life, and disability insurance on your own now that you are divorced. Review all existing policies you have through a spouse’s employer and make a plan to get alternate individual coverage if needed.

Consider COBRA, private insurers, or plans. Update auto, home, and renters insurance, removing your ex-spouse if shared previously.

Consult an Attorney

Schedule a consultation with a divorce attorney to review your divorce settlement, decree, parenting plan, child support order, and guidance for carrying out the terms. Your attorney can clarify any confusing legal language, let you know your rights and obligations, and give tips for avoiding common post-divorce legal issues.

Learn About Taxes

The year you get divorced, you must file your taxes as a single or head of household. Consult a tax professional to see if you need to submit updated W-4 forms to employers and discuss tax implications of child support, alimony, and retirement plan divisions made during the divorce.

Check Credit Reports

Order credit reports from Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Review them closely for any joint credit cards, loans, or accounts that need to be separated. Look for inaccuracies in your individual report. Consider placing a credit freeze to prevent new fraudulent accounts from being opened.

Make Big Financial Decisions Slowly

Consult financial advisors and attorneys before making any major purchases, investments or money transfers in the months after your divorce. Don’t rush into a home purchase or other large expenditures, even if you get a lump sum settlement. Take time to stabilize your new budget first.

Change Passwords and Get New Keys

Protect your security by changing all account passwords your spouse may have known – email, social media, online banking, etc. If you share a home, change the locks and ensure your ex returns any keys, garage door openers or access cards when they move out.

Remove Ex-Spouse from Accounts

Contact your utility providers, cable companies, phone carriers, streaming services, etc., to remove your spouse from any joint accounts. If needed, cancel services and open new accounts under your name only to avoid hassles.

Sell or Divide Valuables

Per your divorce settlement, divide up valuable possessions accumulated during your marriage – art, jewellery, collectables, designer property, etc. Decide who keeps or sells the items. Get appraisals done as needed. Use funds from sales to cover expenses.

Protect Shared Digital Assets

If you have any digital property that will continue being shared with an ex, like photos or videos, use a third-party digital vault that allows shared controlled access. Also, be cautious of tools you once shared, like streaming services.

Analyze Your Budget

With your new single income and expenses, analyze your monthly budget carefully. Identify areas where you can reduce spending, like downsizing housing, getting a roommate, limiting dining out, or renegotiating/cancelling subscriptions and services. Build an emergency fund in case of unexpected expenses. Seek child support or alimony if applicable.

Focus on Your Mental Health

The stress of divorce can negatively impact your mental health. Monitor yourself for signs of depression, anxiety, anger, grief, and loneliness. Talk to a therapist or counsellor if you are having trouble coping. Practice self-care by exercising, eating healthy meals, journaling, trying new hobbies, and making time for enjoyment.


What documents should I have after the divorce?

Copies of the divorce decree, custody agreements, name change forms, and asset division paperwork.

How long does it take time to finalize a divorce in Utah?

According to Utah law, you must wait 90 days to finalize your divorce. Also, you can only remarry once passing 91 days after filing a divorce.

What bills to cancel after divorce?

Joint bills and memberships in both names – phone plans, streaming services, and memberships. Open individual accounts.

When can I change my marital status after my divorce?

Once the divorce decree is issued, you can legally change your status to single, divorced, or widowed on forms and paperwork.

Final Words

The end of a marriage can be a tough transition full of logistical and emotional challenges. Give yourself grace as you navigate this major life change. However, taking the proper steps at the outset to protect yourself legally and financially will provide peace of mind.

Lean on your support system of family, friends, professionals, and community resources when you need help. Focus on self-care and establishing stability for you and your children as you heal.