Documents to Keep after Your Divorce

Divorce is a difficult process, and the last thing many want to consider is what legal documents or other documents to keep after the divorce.  Although many are tempted to discard all traces of their marital records, it is important to retain many of those documents.  Rather than trash the paper trail that you have built up to this point of your life, save the documents and find a system to help make them easily available when necessary.  While attorneys advise against destroying any important documentation, the following are crucial documents that you should preserve after your divorce. 

  1. Last Will and Testament

An updated last will and testament should be executed after the divorce decree, however if you have not had the chance to complete the process, retain your current will.  As mentioned in previous blog posts, it is important to have an up-to-date will and to update the document any time there is a major life change.  This is especially important should you have sole custody of your children.  Your last will and testament is the document that is an instruction manual once you are gone.   This is the place to address issues like guardianship of minor children, property division, and donations you wish to have made in your name.  A divorce counts as a major life change that triggers will revision. A Dublin, Ohio divorce attorney can help you understand the challenges you would face without an updated will.

  1. Life Insurance Paperwork

As mentioned above, divorce signals a time to change many important documents.  This includes your insurance policy.  If you or your spouse has a life insurance policy listing each other as the beneficiary, it is time to contact the insurance company and make a change.  Unlike your will, the insurance company won’t look to see if there has been a divorce decree.  The company will pay out on the policy as directed in the documentation.  Be sure to retain a copy of the life insurance policy if you are listed as your ex-spouse’s beneficiary, as you are entitled to the benefits as long as you are listed as the beneficiary.  If time comes to collect on the policy, and your former spouse has not yet changed the beneficiary, you are entitled to the policy proceeds.

On the other hand, be sure to change the beneficiary of your life insurance policy to reflect your new marital status.  Should you fail to do so, your ex-spouse will collect on the event of your death.  A divorce attorney in Dublin, Ohio can help walk you through all the documents that will need revision after the divorce.  It’s important to have a trusted advocate on your side to advise you during these challenging times.

  1. Copies of Checks, Money Orders, or Other Payment Documentation

Retain copies or receipts of payments if you are receiving child support or spousal support from your ex-spouse.  Attorneys suggest you receive the payments in check form to allow for a paper trail of the payments.  However, if your ex-spouse insists on paying in cash, you should make a record of the payment by providing him or her with a receipt.   Log all these payments using either a notepad, or track the money using spreadsheet program.  If payments are decreasing, increasing, or are just infrequent, it is important to have the evidence to back that up.  Should you find yourself in trouble financially due to unpaid child support, you should contact a Dublin, Ohio divorce attorney to help you get the support you deserve.

  1. Marriage License

Your marriage license is still an important legal document, even after the court issues a divorce decree.  As tempting as it may be to destroy the document once your divorce is finalized, you will need it to seek certain benefits.  If you and your ex-spouse were married for more than 10 years, then you are entitled to your ex-spouse’s Social Security benefits.  To collect the benefits, you will need to contact the Social Security Administration and provide information about the length of your marriage and your divorce decree, all with the requisite documents.  Working with a divorce attorney can help save you the hassle of remembering the specifics.  Your attorney will remind you what documents need to be retained and how to best store the original documents.

  1. Settlement Agreement, Child Support Order, and Divorce Decree

Keeping a copy of the settlement agreement, child support order, and divorce degree is crucial.  This is true especially if you have to seek court support to enforce any part of the final divorce decree or child support order.  Much like retaining financial records of payments from your former spouse, the original documents will help substantiate any claim for breach of agreement between you and your ex.  When you hire an advocate to represent you during the divorce process, your divorce attorney will remind you which documents should be kept safe for future use.

In addition to the aforementioned documents, you should always keep a copy of any court documents after the divorce.  Again as tempting as it may be to celebrate the conclusion of the divorce proceedings with a ceremonial burning of the documents, attorneys recommend you retain all court documents.  Speak with your divorce attorney about which documents he or she will keep on file, and which you are expected to keep in your own records.

Finally, when the divorce has been finalized, it may come time to move. Make sure you know where these documents are at all times during a move.  Treat the documents as you would your wallet.  If you find yourself moving from location to location without a stable or secure place to store your legal documents, consider a safety deposit box at a local bank.  The cost will be offset by the peace of mind you have knowing the legal documents are safe.  It is often best to find the right firm to represent you as your divorce attorney. Dublin, Ohio attorneys Edward F. Whipps & Associates can help guide you through this uncertain time.

Finding the right advocate is important, that is why it is best to find a divorce attorney close to home.  Here at Edward F. Whipps & Associates, we want you to know you don’t have tackle this all on your own.  Although divorce can be daunting hiring the right attorneys can reduce the stress of navigating through the process.  With over 30 years of experience and a unique understanding of psychology and it’s role in the process, the attorneys at Edward F. Whipps & Associates are well equipped to maximize your results with the most efficient and respectful legal approaches.

Why Should You Think Twice about Divorce without a Lawyer?

Divorce is something that one should not face alone, especially due to the sensitive emotional nature of the process.  Often couples assume they can file for divorce without the aide of an attorney.  Those who try often face challenges they could not have foreseen including: uncertainty of the future, negotiation challenges, and unfamiliarity with the court system.  Here are a few reasons why you should think twice about divorce without an attorney.

Uncertainty of the Future

The divorce process brings with it uncertainty.  This includes uncertainty about the financial future, what to do with the marital home, and what will happen to the children. Such questions are at the heart of the process that affects so many families.  Attorneys with a focus in divorce and family law can help guide you through these uncertain times.  Attorneys will bring the requisite knowledge and expertise to help you plan for your future, both financially and legally.  Family law attorneys will often help with estate planning and with other things you may overlook when going through a divorce.

Uncertainty can put stress on many people in different ways, and this is especially important when spouses with children divorce.  Children at different ages will respond in different ways to the divorce process.  An attorney can come in and act as an advocate for the rights of the children as well, especially if you fear for the safety of your children.  If you feel your spouse has said or done things that you find may indicate a personality disorder, it is important to work with a firm with a background in psychology to find the necessary resolution.  Finding a law firm where Children Matter Most is important, especially when you feel a child may be at risk because of the behavior of your spouse.

Negotiation Challenges

Many spouses are not aware of their future financial needs and tend to attempt to evenly split the assets 50/50.  With so many marriages ending amicably, negotiations are less confrontational and more cooperative.  Being fully prepared to explain your future needs even in cooperative situations will lead to better relations after the divorce decree has been finalized.  Hiring a Columbus, Ohio divorce attorney can help prepare you for the negotiation and settlement proceedings that follow your initial decision to divorce.  Even with amicable settlements, it is important to have an advocate who can fight for your rights and future interests.

Unfamiliarity with the Court System

Procedural crime dramas only showcase part of the legal system, so as a viewer you are unaware of the multiple hours of research and planning that go into the courtroom scenes.  If you were to prepare for a divorce without the aid of an attorney, you would need to complete all the requisite research that attorneys have spend years completing.

In addition to the research involved in learning the procedures in court, you would need to track your own trial and hearing dates.  For some, attending the various scheduling conferences and appearing for the trial dates equates to time away from work and possible threat of unemployment.  In Columbus, Ohio, divorce attorneys are able to work together with the court and schedule events at times that are mutually convenient.  Attorneys act as advocates and can represent you and your interests at each stage of the divorce.

Lastly, it is important to remember that experienced attorneys will have the resources and knowledge to help prepare your case.  Attending a hearing or other settlement negotiation on your own can be daunting, so it is important to hire a professional to prepare the requisite documentation.  This is especially true if you suspect your spouse may have a personality disorder, and the judge requires evidence of such a disorder.  Many Columbus, Ohio divorce attorneys would not have the background needed to address psychological concerns, which is why hiring the right attorney is so important.

We have a solid understanding of personality disorders and the impact that they make on divorce proceedings and child custody arrangements.  It is important to protect your interests and those of your child if you suspect your spouse has a personality disorder, and if you are faced with the possibility of divorce.  We will advocate for you and your children with the requisite experience and knowledge need to prove to the court the presence of a personality disorder should one exist.