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California Divorce: What Records Do You Need to Keep When Getting Divorced?

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Once the divorce is over, many people want to put it behind them and move forward. Some even lean towards a celebratory attitude that has them banishing anything related to the divorce from their life. If you are inclined in this direction once your divorce is final, use caution. You may be tempted to discard all the paperwork that reminds you of the divorce proceedings, but that would not be a good idea.

The Divorce Decree: The Final Judgment of Divorce

The divorce decree or final judgment is a critical document in every divorce. The official order is signed by the judge and is proof that your marriage is legally dissolved. It also includes the final disposition of all the divorce-related issues that were hashed out during the proceedings including parenting time (custody and visitation), child support, alimony or spousal support, and the division of asset and marital debts. The divorce decree should spell out how all of the issues should be handled. Details on the issues are specified in the final judgment or will be included in a separate document referred to as a marital settlement agreement or divorce settlement agreement or property settlement agreement. If you have a separate settlement agreement, it should be offered to the court so they can incorporate the information in the final judgment.

You should receive (and keep) at least one copy of the divorce judgment that has a court seal to verify the document’s authenticity. The court seal is particularly crucial if the judgment provides legal permission for you to resume using a former name. You may be required to provide a sealed copy to certain entities, like the motor vehicle division in your state or the Social Security Administration offices.

Other Documents To Keep After the Divorce is Over:

  • Appraisals: If there were any appraisals completed for assets, keep a copy; especially if there are assets that aren’t scheduled to be distributed until a date after the divorce is over.
  • Financial Documents: Keep copies of divorce-related financial paperwork for tax purposes. If you are paying or receiving either spousal or child support, keep any divorce-related financial paperwork as it was used to determine the amount of the obligation. Retaining financial documents can be very helpful if either party seeks a modification of child support or spousal support at a later date.
  • Support Payment Documentation: If support payments are going from one party to the other, it is a good idea for both to keep track of the transactions in case of a dispute.

If you need help filing for divorce or if you have questions about how to manage the divorce process, please get in touch with one of the experienced California divorce attorneys at The Maggio Law Firm today.

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