August 15, 2023, In Divorce
At WHITMARSH FAMILY LAW, PC, our Los Angeles family law attorney knows that no matter which type of California divorce our clients are pursuing — whether it is contested or uncontested, high-asset or collaborative — the goal is to get it finalized so that they can move forward with their new lives.
In California, a divorce is final on the day the court signs the decree. At this point, the day the order is signed, the spouses are legally divorced. Both spouses’ attorneys will be sent the finalized decree and will share it with their clients.
Our Los Angeles County divorce attorneys also know that once this day comes, it is difficult to know where to go from here. Outside of moving forward with your new life, you should address a few essential details immediately to protect your best interests.
Satisfy the Details of the Divorce Agreement/Order
If you and your spouse divide your property during your divorce proceedings, address the details of your agreement or court order immediately after the divorce is finalized. This could mean putting the family home on the market, eventually dividing the equity upon its sale, selling shared vehicles or other property and splitting the proceeds, or physically dividing possessions.
Be sure to comply with your divorce agreement or court order until all details are resolved.
Change All Important Financial Accounts & Records
Once you are on your own, look at all financial accounts, critical financial records, and other legally binding contracts that share your ex-spouse’s name so that you can remove them.
This may include, but is not limited to:
- Removing your ex-spouse as the beneficiary on insurance policies, investment accounts, or other financial holdings.
- Changing your will and medical/financial powers of attorney to a new executor/decision maker.
- Closing any credit cards that share both of your names.
- Telling your employer to change your tax withholding status, update beneficiaries listed in any employee benefit, and update your health insurance.
- Changing the title, registration, and insurance coverage on your vehicle.
Be sure to also look closely at all online accounts, utilities, and other miscellaneous shared arrangements — like Amazon Prime or streaming platforms — and make all the necessary changes to the usernames and passwords to protect yourself from unauthorized purchases.
Can I Change My Last Name Back After My California Divorce Is Final?
If you included a name change in your initial divorce agreement, you will need a certified copy of your divorce decree to start the official process of changing your legal documents.
With your divorce decree in hand, you must start by filling out an application for a new Social Security card with your restored name. Once it is received, you can use the combined documents to get a new driver’s license/state ID.
Once you have a new picture ID and social security card, you can change all the other accounts in your name, including bank and credit card accounts. Be sure to update your employer on your name change so that they can make formal payroll and internal personnel changes.
If you did not include a name change in your divorce agreement, you can still pursue the process of returning to your previous name by completing form FL-395.
Next, take all documentation, form FL-395, and a filing fee to your local California County Clerk’s Office. The filing fee will vary by county. The clerk will update your name change in the statewide database if you have everything you need. Once the update is made, you may replace your driver’s license, social security card, passport, and other important information with your preferred last name.
Contact Our Divorce Attorneys in Los Angeles, California Today
If you have questions about how your California divorce may unfold and would like to learn more about your legal rights and options, contact our skilled family law attorneys in Los Angeles County at WHITMARSH FAMILY LAW, PC by calling (310) 552-3505 to schedule a free consultation today. We can help provide solutions that produce results.