Divorce can alter a lot in a person’s life. There are many moving parts after you and your spouse have filed for a divorce. Changing too much too fast can put you in a terrible position.

When your relationship with one another is rocky, you may get the urge to change all your financial accounts right away. Many believe they must do this immediately to make sure their ex-spouse doesn’t receive any money from them. This can be a huge mistake in the long run.

Why should I wait?

Taking this action before a divorce is finalized can seem suspicious. It’s understandable that you would want your money to stay yours, but it may be illegal for you to do so. Some states put an automatic financial restraining order on both parties when a divorce has been filed. New Hampshire is one state that doesn’t require this order automatically. It is possible for your ex-spouse or the judge to order this financial restraint though. This prohibits you from making any deviations to your life insurance or IRA beneficiaries.

Your first step should be to consult with your lawyer before making any changes. Although it may unnerve you to leave your ex-spouse as a beneficiary, it can keep you on the right side of the law during a financial restraining order.

When can I change my beneficiary?

Once your divorce is finalized and your financial restraining order has lifted, you are free to revise your beneficiaries. It may be helpful to reach out to your divorce lawyer to make sure you meet the expectations that have been outlined in your settlement agreement. For example, if either party must make alimony payments, changing your beneficiaries may go against your settlement agreement.

When going through a divorce, it’s best to keep your emotions in check. You don’t want to act hastily and end up hurting yourself in the long run. Even though it’s difficult with emotions running high, try to ensure that every decision you make is thought through during the separation process. The court can see something as simple as changing your beneficiaries at the wrong time as illegal.