Man reviewing information on clipboard over his desk

Divorce can be an overwhelming process for many, where focussing on the emotional implications and resolving the immediate financial issues arising out of the separation, naturally take priority. However, there are wider implications on divorce that should be flagged and dealt with as early on as possible. Therefore, these six key points are intended to serve as a useful guide to remind people of other issues to address, which don’t always spring to mind.

1. Update your Will

It is always sensible to update your Will as soon as possible when the decision to permanently separate has been made and your intentions for what happens on your death have changed. This is because until the divorce has been finalised, the terms of your Will (or the intestacy rules if you don’t have a Will), shall continue to take effect. Often parties’ Wills express that all their assets are to pass to their spouse and the bulk (if not all) of parties’ assets will pass to their spouse under the intestacy rules. Updating your Will after you separate but before your divorce has been finalised, will protect your assets so far as possible in the unlikely event you die between separating and the divorce being finalised. It is always advisable to resolve the financial issues arising out of your separation before finalising your divorce and so there can be quite a gap between choosing to separate and finalising your divorce. The importance of keeping your Will updated is further explored here.

2. Update pension schemes and life insurance policy nominations

Similarly, once the decision to permanently separate has been made it is also wise to update your beneficiaries and nominees under any pension schemes and life insurance policies if you no longer wish your spouse to benefit. Divorce does not sever your ex-spouse’s claim if they are named as a beneficiary or nominee. By failing to change who is named creates the risk of the benefit still passing to the ex-spouse as the trustees may be obliged to implement the original wishes.

3. Update your security

It is also important to remember to change passwords which your ex-spouse may be aware of to prevent them from gaining access to your confidential information. These may include passwords to your email addresses, bank accounts and any streaming accounts which you may want to remove them from.

4. Update your Power of Attorney

Whilst you remain married any appointment of your spouse under a Power of Attorney will remain valid. Upon divorce, an ex-spouse is removed from the position of Power of Attorney, if previously appointed, leaving you without a Power of Attorney. Therefore, it is advisable to update any Power of Attorney as soon as possible.

5. Remove yourself from any joint bank accounts

It is advisable to check whether any joint accounts have overdraft facilities and, if so, freeze this facility to ensure your spouse cannot drawdown on the overdraft facility as you will be jointly and severally liable for its repayment. Any late repayments may impact your credit score and so it is best to take protective steps at the outset to minimise any risk of this.

6. Notifying of any change of address

If you have moved address, there are various people that need to be aware of your new address. These include and but are not exclusive to:

  • Banks
  • DVLA
  • Mortgage lender
  • Local council
  • Employers
  • Medical professionals e.g. GP, dentist and opticians

It is a good idea to update your address with the relevant agencies and have the Post Office redirect your mail to ensure nothing is missed. You will also want to ensure that you have your name removed from any bills with the relevant utility companies in regard to any property you were living in with your spouse to ensure you are not responsible for any ongoing costs that will be incurred.

Moreover, if the marital home is owned in the sole name of your ex-spouse it is important to register home rights. This evidences your right to occupy the property and prevents your ex-spouse from selling the property without your knowledge. We explore home rights further here.