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Prepare yourself for your first year after divorce

The first year after a divorce is complex. You have to deal with learning how to live without a spouse, but there are many other considerations to think about. You have to learn how to navigate life as a single person and how to parent as a single parent. These changes can be challenging but they don't have to be stressful.

You might be surprised at some of the changes that you have to make as you venture through that first year. Preparing yourself for these changes now can help you to feel less stressed about the situation as you move forward with your new life.

Your name

Men don't have to deal with name changes like women have to. As a woman, when you get married, you have to decide if you are going to take your husband's last name. When you divorce, will you keep that last name or move back to your maiden name? For some women, the desire to keep their married name comes down to wanting to have the same last name as their children. If you opt to change your name, you will need to do this through the court and change it with the Social Security Administration.

Filing taxes

Filing income taxes is another issue that you need to think about ahead of time. The name on your income tax return must match the name associated with your Social Security number. If the names aren't the same, you run the risk of having issues with your tax return. This could lead to a larger liability than what you expected or it could mean a delay on the refund. It is necessary to have your name change completed with the SSA before filing your return. If your name isn't changed yet, you will need to file your return with the name that is on file.

Financial matters

Your financial situation may have changed greatly since you divorced. You might need to seek help from a financial planner to make sure that you are on the right track with your money. A financial planner can work with you to come up with a plan to save for retirement, pay off credit card bills and cover regular monthly expenses. Even if it seems like you don't really need this help, you might be surprised by what you learn during the meeting.

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