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What documents should I keep after my divorce?

No matter how amicable the divorce may be, grasping the fact that your marriage has failed is a tough pill to swallow. Moving on to the next chapter in your life can be difficult. This is especially true if you still have objects and paperwork that remind you of your former spouse. You may feel tempted to get rid of everything that reminds you of your failed marriage. However, you should not make rash decisions before understanding how discarding certain legal paperwork can affect the terms of your settlement agreement. If you are undergoing a divorce, you need an adept Ocean County Divorce Attorney on your side who can help you understand what legal documents should be kept to avoid headaches down the road. 

Why should I keep certain legal documents after my divorce is finalized?

Newly divorced individuals often make the mistake of discarding their original marriage certificate and settlement agreement. Although you want to move on to the next chapter of your life without reminders of your former spouse, you need to preserve certain legal documents as they may be useful in the future.

Firstly, you should keep your marriage license as it is the legal document that authorizes you and your spouse to get married. Therefore, it corroborates the marriage. In some cases, you may have to prove the marriage duration to demonstrate your eligibility to receive certain benefits. For instance, if you were married for 10 years or longer, you may be eligible to receive Social Security benefits. However, if you do not keep your original marriage license alongside your divorce decree, both of which can verify the duration of your marriage, you may not be able to claim a portion of your former spouse’s benefits.

Why should I keep my settlement agreement?

Keeping your marriage license is vital. However, another significant document you need to keep after your divorce is finalized is your settlement agreement. Typically, your settlement agreement will lay out the terms of the termination of your marriage. This includes whether you receive a certain amount for child support and spousal support. Your former spouse may forget or ignore their legal obligation to make monthly maintenance payments. When this is the case, you should keep copies of the check you received and keep a record of the months missed and the amount of money owed. This way you can resolve the matter without involving the court. If you do want the court to intervene, this will help prove that your former spouse has missed payments. This will ensure the necessary action is taken to ensure you receive this type of court-ordered financial support.

Furthermore, you should keep all financial statements as sometimes spouses face a significant change in circumstances which causes them to ask the court to modify the existing settlement agreement. Whatever the case may be, the court will ask you to provide them with your financial statements. To avoid a headache down the road from having to contact your bank and the tax board to obtain past financial records, you should keep all of your financial statements.

For more information on the most significant documents to keep after your divorce is finalized, contact one of our dedicated team members. Our firm is prepared to help you move on to the next chapter of your life without discarding critical documents.