Once your divorce is final, we recommend that you keep certain documents, especially if you are receiving child support and alimony from your ex-spouse. Many people may feel like they need to destroy certain documents, such as the marriage license, because he or she may not want to keep things that remind him or her of their ex-spouse. It is very important to keep certain documents and records because you may unfortunately need them in the future, especially if your ex-spouse fails to pay his support obligations to both you and your children. Below is a brief list of the documents and records that we highly recommend that you keep after your divorce. We recommend keeping these documents in a firesafe security or file box. We do not, however, recommend that you keep any important documents in a safety deposit box. If something happens to you, your family may not be able to retrieve these documents from your safety deposit box.
1. Copies of checks and/or money orders:
If your ex-spouse is required to pay child support or alimony to you, it is very important that you make copies of these checks and/or money orders for your records. If your ex-spouse insists on paying you cash, however, we highly recommend that you give your spouse a receipt, which both you and your spouse sign. Receipt books only cost a couple of dollars and they could help you immensely in the future if you need to file an action with the court. If your ex-spouse makes the payments in cash, it is very difficult to prove to the court that he or she made these payments to you since there is usually no tangible evidence showing these payments were made.
Also, in addition to making copies of all checks and/or money orders, we highly recommend that you keep a log of all of the payments that you received. You can either keep the log on your computer or a notepad. Every month, you should make an entry in the log listing the amount of the payment, the check number, and the date received. If your spouse fails to make a payment, you should still make an entry, but you should put “no payment received”. It is so much easier to calculate how much money your spouse owes you when you have a tangible record of it. The downside to keeping detailed records on the computer is that you would lose these records if your hard drive crashes or your computer is lost or stolen – if you do please be sure to backup the file regularly and keep a backup copy offsite.