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Declaring financial independence after a divorce

Colorado readers who have been through a divorce don't need to be told it's a stressful experience. One of the worst stressors is the fear for one's financial future. Divorce means declaring independence and making a fresh start financially. It can be scary, but by getting organized and taking a few important steps it can be done.

One of the first things a newly divorced spouse should do is retitle in their own name the assets that were awarded to them in the divorce. A spouse should remove their ex's name from any of their own bank accounts. The process is not complicated and usually involves simply closing the account and reopening it. One should also be sure to update the titles to other property, including automobiles and real estate, and change the beneficiary designations on life insurance policies and 401(k) accounts.

If retirement accounts were split, the court will probably have signed a Qualified Domestic Relations Order that divides each account between the two parties. A spouse who has received a share of their ex's retirement account should present the QDRO to the account custodian, so the custodian can transfer that share into the spouse's own retirement account.

Finally, a newly divorced spouse should develop a budget and learn to stick to it. There is no better way to take control of one's financial life.

Adjusting to a new financial reality after divorce is intimidating. But if one is organized and prepared, it is possible to take control of one's finances and move on confidently to a new stage in life.

Source: Forbes, "Finances For The Newly Divorced Made Easy," Neal Frankle, Sept. 15, 2014

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