The divorce process can be overwhelming. The need to stay focused and organized is even that much more important. Here are some ideas to help achieve those objectives……..
Keep a “Divorce Journal”
If you’re in the midst of a divorce, or even contemplating one, consider keeping a journal of events for your lawyer. Note all events that you feel are relevant to your divorce and may affect the outcome. These could be events that involve you or your children. You and your lawyer will want to refer to this journal to help you confirm relevant dates and information. You might want to include this information in affidavits, letters, etc. It helps with accuracy of information and validates facts, dates, and times.
The journal might prove especially important if you end up going to trial. Judges don’t know what really happened; they only know what the lawyers, through their clients, tell them. So a diary of everything that happens could be used as evidence if you go to court. The party that fails to keep a diary is at a significant disadvantage.
Create a Meetings Notebook
What I advise my clients which they find most helpful to staying organized, refreshing their memory, and ensuring they follow up on meetings and tasks is to create a “divorce notebook”. This book can be divided into four sections:
- Meeting agenda and questions
- Notes from the meeting
- Next steps or to do list. Include deadline dates, completion dates, and the date when the completed task or document was communicated or sent to your legal counsel.
- Contacts, their phone numbers, and miscellaneous information
When creating and maintaining your own notebook, be sure to date everything.
Set Up a Divorce Filing System
Your filing system need not be anything complicated or expensive, and simple file folders are perfect. I just happen to prefer legal size, but use whatever works best for you. One way to start is to file all of your divorce-related paperwork in chronological order within specific headings that are relevant to your case. Here are some ideas for the headings you may want to set up:
–correspondence with lawyer, organized by date and topic
–orders or agreements
–folder for each member of your divorce team (financial expert, parenting expert, and so forth).
–financial statements–the statements of assets and liabilities
–invoices/statements–all costs associated with your divorce
–discovery or deposition transcripts.
If you want to get more detailed, you could arrange files more specifically –according to particular financial or child-related issues, for instance. Of course, the detail you go into also depends on the type of divorce you’re pursuing. For instance, you might not need a discovery or deposition file if you are not litigating.