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Post-Divorce Financial To-Do List

Saturday, November 23rd, 2013

After months, even years of wading through the divorce process, you have finally obtained your Final Judgment and Decree of Divorce. Now what? There are likely several task that your divorce decree mandates that you do, like pay child support or abide by your co-parenting arrangement with your ex-spouse. However, for your financial well-being, we have listed a brief financial to-do list that we hope will help you re-establish some normalcy in your life post-divorce.

  1. Obtain a copy of your certified divorce decree, and keep it in a safe place so that you will be able to readily provide it when needed to show proof of your divorce.
  2. Close joint credit accounts.
  3. Close joint bank accounts.
  4. Remove your spouse’s name, and change your name and/or address of all accounts that remain open post-divorce, like bank, brokerage and investment accounts and
    credit accounts. Additionally, if necessary change your name and/or address on your driver’s license, car title, vehicle registration and insurance policies employment records IRS records, life, health, homeowner’s and disability insurance policies, social security card, utility bills, and title to any real property that you retain.
  5. Research your health insurance options and obtain information concerning COBRA, if applicable.
  6. If your divorce decree states that a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) is necessary to divide retirement funds, provide the QDRO to appropriate banks, pension plan advisor, or plan administrators to ensure its acceptance.
  7. Ensure that all quitclaim or warranty deeds have been executed and properly recorded to effectuate any transfers of property.
  8. Update your will, trusts and other estate documents. Additionally, be sure to update the beneficiaries on your life insurance policy as well.
  9. Open new bank accounts and credit accounts if necessary.
  10. Check your credit report and credit score.

Using a Parenting Coordinator in a Georgia Divorce

Friday, April 20th, 2012

Although you and your spouse are ending your marriage, if you have children together then you will always have a relationship–you will always be parents. It is important to remember that the children must always be the focus of the divorce, and the goal should be to minimize the impact of the divorce on your children. However, divorcing parents often disagree about parenting issues like discipline, religion, education or household responsibilities. Disagreement about parenting issues can further escalate the tension in your relationship with your spouse and can be detrimental to your children. In situations in Georgia where a majority of the conflicts during the divorce are related to the children and differences in parenting style and philosophy, a parenting coordinator can be an invaluable resource.

A parenting coordinator is a psychologist or mental health professional who can help you and your spouse discuss parenting issues, determine what an appropriate parenting schedule will be for your time with the children, and help you come to a consensus about how you will be effective co-parents in the future. He or she can help resolve parenting issues that arise during your divorce,and can help you and your partner work together to reduce your conflicts related to the children. The parenting coordinator typically does not attempt to resolve marital issues, but assists with disagreements related to parenting only.

A parenting coordinator is not a guardian ad litem, who is a representative of the Court appointed to determine the best interests of the children, but one who works directly with the parents to attempt to resolve parenting issues outside of Court. With the Court or the parties’ consent, he or she may make decisions for the parties on parenting or child-rearing issues, but parenting coordinators do not give legal advice. The value of the parenting coordinator is in resolving issues outside the courtroom, and can help you set establish a working relationship that allows you and your former spouse to be effective co-parents not only until the end of the divorce, but throughout your children’s lives.

If you have questions about a parenting coordinator, or if you are a parent with concerns about how to work with your spouse during the pendency of your divorce, contact Meriwether and Tharp.

By Elizabeth Doak, Associate, Meriwether & Tharp, LLC

Atlanta Parenting Seminar Information

Thursday, November 20th, 2008

Under Georgia law, both parties in a divorce are required to attend a parenting seminar in Georgia if the parties have children under the age of 18 due to the volatile nature of divorce and the impact it has on children. See Uniform Superior Court Rule 24.8. The parties are not required to attend the seminar together – they can take it at separate locations and on different dates. Even though the content of the parenting seminar is basically the same throughout the state, each county manages its own parenting seminar program. Generally, the topics addressed are how to reduce stress for children during a divorce, visitation recommendations, financial obligations, conflict management, the changing parental roles during a divorce, stress indicators for children, and the needs and age appropriate expectations of children going through a divorce.

You can find more information for parenting seminars in Metropolitan Atlanta counties from our blog at:

Please note that there are only a limited number of seminars offered each month so it is important to review the schedule and try to attend the next available seminar. If you cannot attend the parenting seminar for the county in which your divorce is filed, most counties allow you to take the seminar in any other county in the State of Georgia to receive credit. If you take the seminar in another county, however, you will need to bring the civil action file number assigned to your case with you.

Atlanta Divorce Support Groups

Saturday, December 1st, 2007

The divorce process is difficult for all parties involved. When someone is going through a divorce, he or she may feel that no one understands what they are going through emotionally. A divorce can be devastating on many different levels. Not only is someone losing their spouse and his or her best friend, but in most cases, he or she is losing his or her extended family and the lifestyle to which he or she has become accustomed. One of the spouses may feel like their entire world is falling apart and he or she has no one with whom they can share their feelings or to whom they can vent their anger. In some cases, one of the spouses may go to a counselor or therapist

When you are going through a divorce, who do you speak with when you feel that you have nowhere else to turn? The answer is quite simple. You need the support of both men and women who are experiencing the same emotions and feelings as you are. There are numerous divorce support groups throughout Atlanta. Most of these support groups are sponsored by an organization called DivorceCare and the groups are held at churches throughout Atlanta. Their meetings are two-fold. The first half, which lasts between 30 and 40 minutes, is a video seminar featuring top experts in the field, which discuss various issues and topics on divorce. The second half is a group meeting where they discuss both the video and what is happening in the lives of the group members. In addition, some of the DivorceCare locations also offer additional groups during the holidays since it can be an especially difficult period for someone going through a divorce.