Keep those statements

Some advice for the recently separated: if you have debts in your name (or held jointly with your ex-spouse), keep your statements immediately following the date of separation, and provide copies to your lawyer at your first meeting.  There might be a less satisfying task than calling credit card companies to request copies of statements from two or three years ago, but I haven’t thought of it yet.  (Attending a Cleveland Cavaliers game, perhaps?)

Until your matter is settled (or the Judge has made his or her decision) hang on to subsequent statements as well. Usually, debts incurred after separation are not divisible, but there are exceptions to that rule – for instance, if you pay for improvements to the matrimonial home before it is placed on the market, that may be taken into account when the time comes to divide the proceeds of sale.

A huge file can be overwhelming for the lawyer and the client, but as a rule, it’s better to have too much documentation than too little.

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