Poor record keeping can become a paperwork nightmare in divorce. Here are 4 useful tips to help you stay on top of your record keeping.
Falling behind on one’s record keeping is probably the most common problem that clients have, and it isn’t because they don’t take the legal aspects of their divorce seriously. The problem is essentially one of time management. Clients simply don’t set aside enough time each week to organize their divorce records, update their lists and calendars, file away their copies of court documents, and prepare questions for their divorce attorney. Make sure that you set aside at least one hour, preferably two, each week just to sort through your attorney’s correspondence, pleadings, documents, reports, and associated files.
Don’t let your frustrations with the other party get the best of you! Tossing your copies of the pleadings and your attorney’s correspondence into a box and putting a lid on it is not very useful. (Although it is better than running everything with your spouse’s name on it immediately through the shredder.) If a document reminds you too much of a still raw emotional event, then put it aside for the moment and deal with it a little later. But not too much later. If you are too emotionally tapped to deal with your divorce record keeping during the week, then schedule time on the weekend and just get it done.
If you’re a terrific record keeper, just looking through your divorce files once a week will refresh your memory. Doing so will also keep you fully abreast of the legal processes and on top of every issue in your divorce. When is the child custody evaluator scheduled to interview the other parent? Will the Court issue temporary orders at the resolution management conference? Will the Court consider the other party’s inheritance in calculating child support? Has the other party agreed to mediation of the property division? Confirming the current status of your case and knowing where it is going procedurally is essential to a positive outcome in your divorce.
During the divorce process, there will be times when it seems that everything is happening at once, with many procedures taking place simultaneously. And then there will be other times – the divorce doldrums – when it seems as though absolutely nothing is happening and the case is at a complete standstill. Just like the sailor at sea waiting for a slight breeze from any direction to catch the sail, the divorce doldrums can drive a person to distraction. At those times, when there is little to do but wait, use the time to update and organize your divorce files. When things get busy with your case again, you will be very glad you made good use of that slow period.