The Steps to Take After a Divorce

From the perspective of somebody not involved in the case it can seem as if the granting of a divorce is the end of a process, but at Higgins Miller we know better. We specialise in legal areas such as family law, children disputes, adoption and special guardianship and divorce and civil partnerships, and we realise that a divorce is extremely difficult in a number of different ways.   

The first of these, of course, is the emotional toll which the end of a relationship takes, particularly if the ongoing care of children is involved. The second is the fact that any divorce brings with it a host of practical issues. We work with our clients in a manner which takes full account of both the emotional and the pragmatic fall out of a divorce. We always frame our advice in a sympathetic and emotionally grounded manner, and do our best to guide our clients in a way which understands the emotions they are feeling whilst offering help which is based upon our expertise and experience of the legal issues involved.

When considering what to do after a divorce, many people might feel like simply hiding away from the world and waiting for the emotional pain to fade. This would be a mistake, however, as there are practical steps which need to be taken, and failing to take them could have a long term detrimental impact upon the financial – and indeed emotional – well-being of the party involved.

The question of what to do after a divorce is one which rests upon taking the necessary steps to ensure that the financial affairs of the two parties involved are well and truly separated moving forward. It also involves informing a range of official bodies and instigating new arrangements with institutions such as banks, building societies and insurance companies, particularly if accounts and/or policies have been held in joint names in the past.

When drawing up a plan of what to do after a divorce, parties should first sit down and set out a list of the people and organisations which need to be informed. This might include any of the following:

  • Your employer, especially if they run a pension scheme or other employment related benefits which might be affected by your new status.
  • Your housing benefit office
  • Your council tax office
  • Your mortgage lender
  • All utility providers
  • Your tax office, especially if you are in receipt of tax credits
  • Any bank or other financial institution, although joint accounts may well have been frozen already
  • Your pension provider
  • Your life insurers

It’s also vital that you sit down with a legal representative and draw up a will if you haven’t done so already, or rewrite your will in order to make provision for your newly divorced status. At Higgins Miller we can guide you through this process and make it as quick and simple as possible, whilst ensuring that the resulting document complies with all legal requirements.

You may also wish to change your surname in order to avoid confusion in the future and, in many cases, as a step toward psychologically coping with the divorce process.

If you wish to revert to your maiden name or a previous married name following a divorce, then there are two ways of going about this. If you wish to change things such as official ID and bank accounts then you need to present your decree absolute and your marriage certificate. Alternatively, you may wish to change your name by deed poll. This is a process which is often mentioned, particularly when people are considering what to after a divorce, but which actually consists of drawing up a document containing the following declarations:

  • I am abandoning my previous name.
  • I will use my new name at all times.
  • I require all persons to address me by my new name only.

Although it is possible to change your surname in a ‘DIY’ manner, many people feel reassured by working with a legal representative who will ensure that all of the steps have been taken correctly, and that any change of name is fully legally binding. At Higgins Miller we’ll explain what to do after a divorce in an accessible and sympathetic manner, whilst ensuring that your interests are protected both at the time of the divorce and in the future.

If you’ve got any questions about what to do after a divorce, or would like to enquire about any of our services, then call us on 0161 429 7251 or email us at [email protected]. An initial 20 minute legal aid appraisal, whether face to face or over the phone, is free of charge, whilst a Fixed Fee first appointment costs just £50 (Plus VAT). For information on our wider fee framework, take a look here.

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