As many of our San Jose readers are well aware, the divorce process can be (and often is) long, complicated and stressful. So once that process is finally complete and your divorce becomes final, you may think that the hard work is over. Unfortunately, that is not necessarily the case. It often takes several steps to fully separate your life from that of your former spouse, especially when it comes to your finances.

Therefore, in order to attain financial independence and stability after your split, you may want to take some or all of the steps listed below.

First, update your accounts. If you changed your name during your divorce, you will need to get new legal documents such as a driver's license, passport and Social Security card. You will also need to notify any company with which you have an account of your name change, such as your bank, credit card companies, insurance providers, utilities and the like.

In addition, your name will need to be changed on your mortgage and car loans, and you will need to update your information and change your beneficiaries on any 401(k) plans, pensions and other retirement accounts.

Second, build your credit. Depending on how you and your spouse handled finances during marriage and the outcome of your divorce, you may find yourself with little to no credit following your split.

The first step here is to figure out your credit situation by attaining a copy of your credit report, which you can do for free. If you see any inaccuracies on the report, you should address them with the proper company.

Then, begin to build your credit, by using credit cards regularly and paying them off in full each month. This may take some time, but if you are patient you will find yourself in a good credit situation before you know it.

We will continue this discussion on our next blog post.

Source: Forbes, "Seven Must-Do Steps For Women Who Want Financial Stability Post-Divorce," Jeff Landers, July 25, 2012