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Are you getting divorced? Remember to document

In the stress of a divorce, it's easy to lose track of important details. Ask attorneys about the most common mistakes made by people going through divorce, and one of the main answers is forgetting to document.

Documentation is important in divorce for several reasons. One of its most crucial features is how it can provide validity for controversial claims.

You have proof

If your soon-to-be ex is making threats and you are worried, documentation helps you build a case. For instance, when you record all of the times your ex contacts you and the nature of the contact, you are making a pattern clear. Take advantage of printed communications such as email and text messages, and do not delete them. Many forms of documentation such as bank account statements have electronic versions, but print copies whenever possible.

Use documentation to provide proof in a variety of situations, not just threats. Does your ex-husband claim poverty? Take screenshots of the brand-new car on his Facebook page.

The process runs more smoothly

Documentation can also keep some emotion out of what is often a highly charged process. As an example, one spouse may suspect the other of having stockpiled money for the past year from a joint account. However, collecting documentation from that account can show the amounts withdrawn line up with ordinary expenses.

In any case, having clear documentation makes it easier to understand names, dates, stakes and so on. It helps the divorce process run more smoothly in general. To that end, your attorney might advise you to gather, among other documents:

  • Utility bills
  • Property tax statements
  • Loan documents
  • Monthly budgets
  • Retirement account statements
  • List of properties and assets each spouse owned before the marriage

Of course, each divorce is unique. To better understand what you should document, it helps to seek out the advice of an attorney who can advocate for your interests. 

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