After your divorce is finalized, you may want to discard everything that reminds you of your former spouse. This includes legal paperwork such as your marriage certificate, settlement agreement, and financial statements. However, although it may be difficult to fight the temptation to get rid of everything that reminds you of your failed marriage, it is critical to keep all relevant documents as they may be needed in the future. If you get rid of certain documents it can make it more difficult for the court to enforce certain terms of your settlement agreement including any spousal support and child support orders. If you are undergoing a divorce, it is in your best interest to retain our qualified Bristol County Contested Divorce Lawyers who can help you understand what pertinent documents you should keep following your divorce. Keep reading to learn why you should refrain from discarding significant legal documents after your divorce is finalized.
Can I discard legal documents after my divorce is final?
Although you may want to start the next chapter of your life with a clean slate, you should avoid getting rid of any crucial legal documents as certain paperwork may be required in the future.
When you get married, you have to apply for a marriage license before you can officially tie the knot. A marriage license is a document that authorizes you and your spouse to get married. After you divorce, you may want to throw out your original marriage license and certificate. However, you should keep this document as it legally proves that you were married to your former spouse at one point. It can show the court the duration of the marriage. Additionally, you should keep your divorce decree because it contains the date of your divorce. In some cases, depending on the length of your marriage, you may be eligible for Social Security benefits. If this is the case, you will need to prove the duration of your marriage. Therefore, your original marriage license and divorce decree can be used to secure these benefits if you meet the eligibility criteria.
Moreover, it is beneficial to keep all financial statements especially if you are paying or receiving alimony and child support. In the future, you may request modifications to your original settlement agreement. When this is the case, you will be required to show the court financial statements for several years including monthly bank statements, tax returns, retirement accounts, and other types of financial records. If you fail to keep a record of your financial statements, you may spend a lot of time trying to obtain this information by contacting your bank and the tax board of your state to obtain your annual tax returns from the past years.
Furthermore, you should keep your divorce settlement agreement as it includes significant details involving the terms that apply to the termination of your marriage. This includes child custody, spousal support, child custody, and the division of marital assets. As mentioned above, if you ever want to modify your existing agreement as there may have been significant changes in your circumstances, you will need to present your original settlement agreement. Having it easily accessible can save you time and money.
For more information, please contact one of our skilled and adept team members. Our firm is prepared to help you protect your future and begin the next chapter of your life successfully.