Remember to Update Your Accounts After a Divorce

We all understand that a divorce requires going to a state court to have your marriage legally dissolved, and that this can require determinations regarding property, spousal support, child custody, and child support. And, in nearly all cases, the divorcing spouses will no longer live together, meaning one or both will be relocating. But there are a number of other smaller issues that will have to be attended to following a divorce. Some might involve the assistance of your ex-spouse in accomplishing, and so it may be better and more convenient to tackle these tasks sooner rather than later.

Bank Accounts and Credit Cards

You will want to make sure that any joint bank accounts are either closed or changed to have only your name on the account. The last thing you want is to have your ex withdrawing money from your account, and having little recourse due to the fact that the bank still considers you join owners of the account.

Additionally, make sure all credit cards in both of your names are closed. It is not uncommon for people to accumulate numerous credit cards over the years that they no longer use and may not even recall having. It may be worth checking your credit report to make sure you haven’t forgotten that retail store promotional credit card from years back with your name and your spouse’s name on it. Otherwise you might be on the hook for your ex’s purchases and/or have a damaged credit score.

Retirement Funds, Pension Plans, and Life Insurance

You should act quickly to make sure that all retirement funds, pension plans, and life insurance plans that you and your spouse held jointly are changed to reflect the ownership dictated by your divorce order. While you can always ask your family law attorney for assistance and guidance with this, it is the divorcing spouses themselves that generally take the action necessary to comply with the divorce order, such as contacting your life insurance company or HR manager. If you do not have a family law attorney you can get one at

For retirement benefits which will be partially payable to your spouse, you will likely need to obtain a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) to accomplish this. Your attorney can assist with this.

In addition to changing the ownership of the accounts, also make sure that your listed beneficiary on any accounts reflects your current preferences. To that same end, you will likely want to change your will to reflect any updates on beneficiaries.

Titles and Deeds to Vehicles and Houses

Changing the name on a title or deed to real estate or other property such as an automobile can be challenging, and can require numerous documents and the actions of both spouses, so do not hesitate to get moving on this task.

Also make sure to change the names on any car or home insurance policies to reflect the current persons being covered.

Co-Signing on Loans

An easily overlooked issue in a divorce is whether you and your spouse co-signed on loans for one another. If you co-signed a student loan for your spouse, for example, and the spouse defaults, the lender may come looking to you. In some cases, you might not be able to change your co-signer status, but contact any lenders to determine your options.

Get Help With Your PA Divorce Matter Today

At The Martin Law Firm, P.C., our family law team works with men and women across Southeastern Pennsylvania in divorce matters, and we are committed to serving your needs in a compassionate and efficient manner. Call us today for a no-hassle consultation regarding any questions you have about divorce in Pennsylvania.

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