Protect Yourself After a Divorce was last modified: April 1st, 2018 by Howard Iken

protecting your info after a divorce in florida


By Attorney Jeana Vogel

“Divorce = Rebirth: forget the past, replan your life, improve your appearance & REJUVENATE!” –life coach Rossana Condeleo. Your divorce is finally over! You are ready to start the next chapter of your life. Ensure that you embark on this next chapter while not leaving any loose ends from your divorce that will thwart your efforts. After your divorce is finalized, there are still important steps for you to take to protect your rights and interests.


Store and Update Documents


protect yourself after divorceThere are many documents from your divorce that are important for you to keep easily accessible and in a safe place. These documents include, but are not limited to: Marital Settlement Agreement, Parenting Plan, all Financial Affidavits filed by you and your spouse, Child Support Guidelines, Income Withholding Order, Qualified Domestic Relations Order(s), Quit Claim Deed(s),andFinal Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage. Having a copy of these documents easily accessible will help in the event you encounter an issue and need to go back to court. It is also very useful to have these documents for easy reference in case you are not able to remember all your rights and obligations buried within those documents. If you lose these documents it is possible to get a copy from the Clerk of Court in the County that handled your divorce, however, there is usually a cost associated with obtaining copies.


While you may not want to look at anything pertaining to your divorce again, read through your Marital Settlement Agreement and Final Judgment logging the progress you make on any obligation you have to carry out as delegated within those documents. You may also want to keep a log of your ex-spouse’s obligations and to his/her efforts, accomplishments and timeframes for completing those tasks. This will be especially helpful if you find yourself back in court over an issue related to those tasks. If you have to exchange personal items, bring a neutral person with you. This will hopefully help to deter any arguments and provide you with a witness if an incident does arise.


Update your end of life documents such as your Trust, Will, Health Care Surrogate, Power of Attorney, and Life Insurance Beneficiary. Oftentimes people designate their spouse to be their

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Health Care Surrogate, Power of Attorney and/or Beneficiary of assets. Now that you are no longer married, you likely will not want your ex-spouse handling those affairs for you and/or reaping the benefits of the assets you were able to maintain after the divorce. While the Marital Settlement Agreement usually has a provision that neither party shall be able to inherit from the other, the Marital Settlement Agreement does not have control over things such as beneficiaries under a Life Insurance Policies and Retirement Accounts. Updating those documents will protect not only you but your desired beneficiaries. However, ensure that any updates you do make cover any obligation you undertook within the Marital Settlement Agreement.


Secure All Your Accounts


Make sure all joint accounts are closed and things are divided pursuant to the Marital Settlement Agreement and/or Final Judgment. This includes, but is not limited to: bank accounts, credit cards, credit accounts, insurance policies, and joint outstanding checks or debts to be paid. Ensure that you establish credit accounts in your name only. Usually, there is a provision in the Marital Settlement Agreement that neither party shall incur any debt or liability in the other party’s name. However, in the even your ex-spouse breaches this requirement, it is time consuming and can be expensive ensuring you are not held liable for your ex-spouse through a joint account that was not timely closed and/or liquidated.


Check that all of your accounts (bank, bills, memberships, health insurance, auto insurance, life insurance, etc.) have the right name, address and personal information for you to access. You will also want to change any passwords that your ex-spouse know and/or could figure out. It is best to be on the offensive than the defensive with these matters.


Change the locks on your doors if you have not already done so after separating from your ex-spouse. If nothing else, this will help you sleep better at night.


protect your accounts after divorceIf you and your ex-spouse acquired vehicles in your joint names, it is likely that you will have to transfer automobiles pursuant to your Marital Settlement Agreement and/or Final Judgment. This process will include obtaining updated title, registration and tags. If you are transferring title to an ex-spouse, ensure they update title, registration and tags into their own names within a reasonable period of time. If not, insist this be done either through communicating with your ex-spouse, attorneys and/or seek the court’s assistance. Marital Settlement Agreements usually have a provision that protects you from ultimate responsibility in the event of an accident. However, this is another matter that could cost you money and time to rectify.


Name Change


If you are changing your name pursuant to the Final Judgment of Dissolution of restore premarital nameMarriage you will have to obtain a Certified Copy of the Final Judgment from the Clerk of the Court in the County that your divorce was granted. The charge is usually $1.00 per page of your Final Judgment and $2.00 to certify each copy you get. It is recommended that you retain at least, three (3) certified copies of your Final Judgment if you are changing our name. Department of Motor Vehicles will need a copy in order to update your Driver’s License. Social Security Administration will need a copy in order to provide you with a new Social Security Card.    Sometimes these agencies do not retain your Certified Final Judgment but it is best to ensure you have a copy for yourself in case you have a need for it later.  Some credit card companies and other account holders may also want to see a copy of your Final Judgment to update your account information. Most of them, however, do not require a certified copy.


You may find it very beneficial to keep a record of time sharing schedules and support payments. A lot of issues that arise after a divorce where children and/or alimony are involved stem from these two issues. It is hard to remember specific details at a later date when an issue arises. Being able to provide exact notes will ensure you have your facts straight and will help you to seem more credible to the court if court intervention becomes necessary.


Any time you pay money to your ex-spouse, make sure to specify what the money is for on the subject line of the check. If you are paying support directly to your ex-spouse via check, make sure to put the words “child support” and/or “alimony” on the subject line. If you are paying medical expenses, on the subject line you would put things such as “dentist,” “braces,” “doctor appointment,” etc. If you are paying for activities, you would put things such as “soccer,” “karate,” “summer camp,” etc. This will help you to obtain credit for the things you pay to your ex-spouse if a conflict arises.


Get to know us: Jason Ponder, Esq.

Get to know us: Jason Ponder, Esq.

Remember with any agreements and/or orders from the court regarding children, the court hopes you and your ex-spouse can work together to modify those agreements as may be necessary to accommodate your needs, the needs of your ex-spouse, and especially the needs of your child(ren).   Think of the parenting plan as a backup plan, in the event you and your spouse cannot agree to modify the provisions, then you fall back on the Parenting Agreement that was agreed to or ordered by the court.


This list is by no means absolute, so take time to evaluate your needs and interests and expound on these tasks as is necessary for your unique circumstances. Crossing your T’s and dotting your I’s after a divorce will allow for a much a happier journey through this change in life. As wisely stated by life coach Rossana Condeoleo, “Divorce is the start point for a brand new life. Don’t lose the chance to redesign it upon your dreams!”


Quick Reference Task List:


o  Keep a copy of important documents from your divorcethings to do after divorce

o  Complete tasks you are required to do pursuant to the Marital Settlement Agreement and/or Final Judgment; keep a log of your efforts

o  Bring a neutral third party with you to exchange personal items

o  Update your end of life documents

o  Close and divide all joint accounts

o  Check that just your name, personal information and address is on all your accounts

o  Change passwords

o  Change the locks on your doors

o  Transfer automobiles and update title, registration and tags

o  Change your name- with the Department of Motor Vehicles, Social Security Administration and all your accounts; obtain a Certified copy of your Final Judgment

o  Keep a journal on time sharing and support payments

o  When paying money to your ex-spouse, specify what is for on the subject line of the check

o  Treat the parenting plan agreement as a back-up plan in the event you and your ex-spouse cannot agree otherwise

o  Evaluate your needs and interest to add on to this task list

We hired Jennifer to help us resolve a painful divide in our family, hoping to bring long lost members together again. No matter the time zone difference from across the world Jennifer still accepted to help us on our family’s case. She was very patient with the exchanging of files back and forth over email, scanning, and faxing. Even the rates were very affordable, very decent compared to other Orlando firms. After a few months, due to her hard work we accomplished big steps in our case. We travelled half way across the world to meet her in Florida and she was so gracious and hospitable. Advocating on our behalf, she did an impeccable job consulting with a State Attorney and many other professionals. She, her staff, and her firm are heroes for our family and our entire nation. She is going to court on our behalf today, half a world away. We feel like she is part of our family, advocating for us so dedicatedly. Thousands of people all over the world followed our story on national news networks and on social media. Jennifer’s outstanding work should be lauded and sought after by families who are seeking counsel to reunite with other family members through the legal process. Thank you Jennifer, your staff, and your firm, you’ve been a blessing to our family, our clan, and our nation.

Nestralda – Avvo


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Attorney Blackwell has been handling my family law issues for a few years because of several complex matters. Claudia is not only professional and knowledgeable, she provides a human connection that gives her clients reassurance during emotional and stressful times. I have and will continue to recommend Attorney Blackwell to those seeking a family law professional.


Attorney Jeana Vogel

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Over the past 14 years Ayo & Iken has helped over 5,000 people just like you