After Your Divorce is Final

There are a few things you should think about and take care of once your divorce is final.

  • Think about whether you want to change the beneficiary on your will or life insurance policy.
  • Close all credit card accounts that list both spouses or domestic partners and open a new 1 in your name alone.
  • Tell your employer when your marriage or domestic partnership ends so you can change your income tax withholding status or the name of the beneficiary for any employee benefits. Your employer will send information to your former spouse or domestic partner about the cost of continued health insurance coverage.
  • If the Judgment says only 1 of you will own a motor vehicle that you used to own together, fill out and file a Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) form, Notice of Transfer and Release of Liability (REG 138), to change title to the motor vehicle. Make sure to keep a copy for your records.
  • If you filed joint tax returns with your spouse or domestic partner and you are now being held responsible for state or federal taxes or penalties, even if your divorce decree says that your spouse is responsible, you may qualify for "innocent spouse tax relief." Read "Innocent Joint Filer Relief - Relief from Paying California income Taxes: Are you Eligible?" for California taxes and Innocent Spouse Relief for federal taxes.

If you want to change the custody, visitation or child support terms of your final Judgment

Parents can make new agreements about the custody/visitation and support of their children at any time. You can do this on your own or with a lawyer or mediator’s help.

You should file your agreement with the court. A lawyer can explain how to file your new agreement. You can use the Stipulation to Establish or Modify Child Support and Order (Form FL-350) to change your child support agreement. You can use the Stipulation and Order for Custody and/or Visitation of Children (Form FL-355) to change your child custody agreement.

If you and the other parent cannot agree but you still want a different order about your children, you can file a motion to go back to court for modification (change) of your current order. Talk to a lawyer or the family law facilitator before filing a motion for modification.