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Shanade Smith, of BPE Solicitors, outlines some practical steps to consider in the second part of her mini-series on divorce arrangements, as going through a divorce can be a gruelling and stressful time, and it can be very daunting to rebuild your life when you come out the other side. Aside from moving on with life personally, it is important to consider how your life will change.
Change your Name
Following divorce, many women decide to revert back to their maiden name. There are two ways to do this, either by Deed or by using your decree absolute and marriage certificate. These will need to be presented to the various government departments and institutions, i.e. HMRC, DVLA, banks etc. Certain providers may not accept your decree absolute and marriage certificate as evidence and so Deed is the most efficient way to change your name. We can prepare a Change of Name Deed for you, please just get in touch for further information.
Protect Confidential Information
If your spouse had access to any of your personal online accounts, i.e. email, online shopping, banking etc. then you should change your passwords as soon as possible. If you are in possession of any confidential information relating to your spouse, then you should return that to them as soon as possible. Confidential information should be treated very carefully and you are not permitted to take copies or withhold documentation from your spouse. Likewise, your spouse must return any of your confidential information that they are holding to you. Check with us if you’re at all unsure.
Check Pension and Life Assurance Policies
Check who you have named as your beneficiary in your Pension and Life Assurance Policies. If you have named your spouse then you should contact your provider to have them removed/replaced. Pensions and Life Assurance are assets that pass outside of your Will, so even though your Will automatically removes your spouse as a beneficiary, this does not apply to Pensions and Life Assurance, which will need to be specifically changed by you. Now would also be a good time to change any joint Life Assurance policies that you have in place.
Review your Benefits
If you haven’t done so already, explore any financial benefits that are now available to you due to your single status, for example Working Tax Credits/Universal Credit or Child Benefit. It is also important to check that your spouse (if you have the main day-to-day care of the children) is paying the correct level of Child Maintenance.