Change Your Name Officially
In most states you can ask, as part of a divorce, to get a maiden name or former married name restored (if you forgot to ask you have to file a separate court case). It’s always a good idea to talk to your divorce attorney about name changes early-on, so you can figure out when and how to smoothly get your name changed. After the divorce you will need to show certified copies of the divorce decree to Social Security, the US Passport agency, state drivers license office, banks and so on.
Prepare for a Restraining Order
Some divorces end with antagonism, and if you need to protect yourself, it may be necessary for you to get a restraining order against your former spouse. However, most well-written settlement agreements contain language to cover such events, so violations may be addressed by contempt. Regardless a big problem with such actions is that people fail to document events with police reports, photos and receipts. Document hostile encounters, including times and dates. Report any situations to the police. Do not ignore them. The good news is that if you prepare for it in advance, you will be better able to protect yourself and in a better position overall.
Request Enforcement of the Divorce Decree
You may find that you can't get your ex-spouse to hand over property or cooperate with the decree. Things become even more complicated when you’re dealing with property in another state. Fortunately, you don't have to settle this all alone, and other states will recognize most divorce decrees. To request enforcement, you generally must file a contempt case, and since contempts are complex, discuss the pros and cons with a lawyer before filing. Contempts are costly and sometimes a lawyer “warning letter” can avoid a contempt case.
Establish a Wage Withholding Order
If you are the custodial parent or have been given spousal support, you have a right to ask the state to collect for you via payroll deduction. If you did not obtain such an order when the support issue was ordered, and it involves child support, your state child support agency can help. All states have an IV-D office that enforces child support orders. They won’t charge you for this service, but they don’t collect spousal support themselves. If you need assistance to collect alimony, you may need a lawyer’s assistance.
Retitle All Necessary Property
If houses or vehicles have been transferred in the divorce decree, you may need to retitle them. If you had a lawyer, the lawyer can prepare deeds and other documents. Note that some property with debts owed (like vehicles) may not be able to be retitled in some states until the loan is paid off. Do not delay in transferring land. Delays may allow creditors of the ex-spouse to record liens against what should be your property.
About Glen Ashman
Glen Ashman offers quality legal services at affordable fees. In addition to having practiced law since 1980, Glen has been a City Judge for East Point since 1988. He is licensed to practice before all federal and state courts in metro Atlanta. He is rated BV (very high) in Martindale and is a Rocket Lawyer On Call Attorney. He is a cum laude graduate of Mercer Law School and a graduate of Emory University.
This article contains general legal information and does not contain legal advice. Rocket Lawyer is not a law firm or a substitute for an attorney or law firm. The law is complex and changes often. For legal advice, please ask a lawyer.