10 things you must do after a divorce

From Lawpack's Separation & DIY Divorce Kit 

After investing all your emotional (and financial) energies into a painful divorce for so long, life can feel very empty when it's finally all over. Family lawyer Philippa Pearson gives her ten tips on where to channel all those energies after the divorce has been settled.

1. Make a Will

This is often overlooked in the rush to get away from all things legal after a divorce, but it can be absolutely crucial and if you can't bear the thought of seeing another lawyer, write a will with Lawpack! Divorce can affect any will you already have, and so you'll need to make a will again. It's particularly important to write a will if you have started a new significant relationship, since the last thing you want to leave behind is a battle over your estate between your 'first' and 'second' family. If you leave really clear provision in a will that caters for them all, you should avoid this future heartache.

Find out more about making a will and divorce...

2. Change your name by deed poll.

This obviously applies if you're a woman and you want to leave your married name behind after a divorce. The easiest way to change it is to enter into a change of name deed, or deed poll as it is often known as. A simple but legally valid change of name deed can be found here. All you need do is sign and your name is changed!

3. Put your children first.

However much you will have tried to protect them during the divorce, your children will have been aware of the stress and tension the divorce has put on you and your ex. Let them know that Mummy and Daddy have resolved their differences (with or without the nice Judge) and that they will try not to argue anymore. Spend lots of time with your children.

4. Allow your ex to collect their things in a calm and peaceful fashion.

Divide up the household contents as soon as possible after the divorce, but avoid the temptation to crease up all your ex's clothes in bin liners and give them odd cups and saucers. Rise above the difficulties you have had and, if possible, do a little act of kindness or two that they won't expect to demonstrate that the rancour is all over for you (even if you're not quite sure it is!).

5. Close any joint bank and savings accounts.

Also, destroy all joint credit and charge cards, or surrender them to the credit card company (if you didn't do this at separation) and notify them that you no longer have responsibility for new debts of your former spouse. Finally, open new accounts in your name alone and with a change of address, if applicable.

6. Don't be put off relationships.

Remember that the odds are in your favour that you will meet a significant other within three years. Get back into the dating scene. Let your friends know that you are free for dinner and join those dating agencies. You could even return to the clubbing scene.

7. Ensure that your financial order is actually put into effect.

Obtaining the formal divorce court order isn't in itself enough, particularly for such things as orders to transfer policies or property. The law is very strict as to how ownership of items such as these can be passed, so don't make the mistake of thinking that the order alone is sufficient. Take legal advice to ensure that the order is properly put into effect and chase your solicitor if you think that they may have put your file away and forgotten to finish the job off properly.

8. Restyle yourself and throw a party (or lots of dinner parties).

Join that gym, get that haircut, buy that new jacket and, most importantly, have fun being the new you. Let everyone know that the bad times are over and that you want to have fun again.

9. Invest your money wisely.

Arrange to see a financial advisor to make your settlement work for you. Plan for your retirement as early as possible.

10. Go on holiday!

You will need a break and no one will be checking your expenditure now. Treat yourself - you deserve it! You have just been through one of life's most difficult and stressful situations and you have survived. Recharge those batteries in the best way you know how - lie on a beach, sip cocktails, climb mountains or even go white water rafting...the choice is all yours!

Further information

Make your own will using Lawpack's Lawpack's can help you to handle your own divorce and save legal fees.

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Published on: June 27, 2008

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