If you've just been through a divorce, take heart that the worst is over.
A divorce can be an incredibly stressful, painful emotional rollercoaster -- but once you come out on the other side, it's time to make some necessary changes to your finances.
Here's where to start:
Restructure Your Accounts
From bank accounts to credit cards, insurance coverage and loan payments, you need to determine which if any of your accounts still have your ex-spouse associated with them.
You seriously do not want to be still attached to your former spouse financially at this point, because any wrongdoing or simple mistakes on their part could reflect poorly on you. It's time to reestablish your financial independence and the first step is to change any accounts you have over to your name alone.
If you can't simply change accounts, open up any necessary new ones in your own name, and move on from there as best as possible.
Check Your Savings and Emergency Funds
After a divorce is finalized, any number of changes can occur in one's personal finances. You can rarely plan for the exact outcome of a divorce and its impact on your bank account, savings, and more, so once all is said and done, you must determine what you have left.
With this knowledge in hand, it's time to start rebuilding. If your savings account took a hit after paying legal fees or splitting it with your ex-spouse, figure out how much you can start allocating to it each month. This means restructuring your budget from the ground up to reflect your new monthly income total.
If you have more money now that you aren't spending it on your former spouse, great! You can rebuild your savings fast and create a solid emergency fund to get you through anything life could throw your way.
Carefully Monitor Your Credit Score
After a divorce, it's critical that you monitor your credit score from all three bureaus. You want to be 100 percent certain that no sudden changes occur, and that any accounts that are unpaid or other issues that occur are dealt with as soon as possible.
If you are lax about checking your credit score after a divorce, you never know what could happen. You might wake up one day a few months later and discover that your credit has fallen by a huge number without your knowledge and suffer the consequences financially. In other words, stay vigilant.
Create a New Plan for the Future
Now that you are newly single again, it's time to think hard about your future -- and not just financially. Divorcees have a lot on their plate, but as time goes on, you'll be able to think more clearly about your future and determine the direction you want to take your life.
It is possible to come out of a divorce better off than you were before. Now that you are the one in control of your life, plan carefully and always make the right moves to ensure your finances are healthier than ever.
For more important financial advice, read the Atlas Credit Blog every week!