OK we are being clever here because we are really talking about Records in two sets of contexts. “Record” refers to both the documentation that you will need to obtain legal advice as to your financial split and also the records that you make of conversations or exchanges with your former partner regarding your divorce.
- Take copies or keep the originals of all financial, tax, superannuation, business, property, parenting, budgets, bills and other related documentation. Your lawyers will need this documentation to give you specific legal advice and to determine your property pool, assess your asset percentage and spousal maintenance entitlement etc.
You should make sure you keep copies of records of all bank accounts going back at least three years and look for any documents at all regarding the purchase/sale of any property, loans, shares, businesses or other investments. If you can find any information in relation to superannuation (theirs or yours), make sure you keep copies of those documents too.
We also advise our clients to start keeping copies of all their receipts and spending upon separation. While this can be tiresome – it will help later in the event that you decide to commence legal action. The Financial Statement that the Court requires you to file with your Application to commence proceedings requires very detailed and accurate information as to your spending which can be stressful to put together unless you have been keeping such records.
And if you have children, think about whether you would like to keep with you their passports and other key documents such as birth certificates.
- The second type of Record that we are referring to are records made by you or your partner in relation to your separation, particularly in relation to your parenting or your settlement discussions.
If you are in dispute with your partner about parenting, then you should be documenting anything that is said between the two of you about parenting, particularly if what is said contains threats made by them (eg I will not give you access to the kids unless you pay me $600 per fortnight). Records that are useful are those that are made fairly quickly after your communication, contain the date and the place and are made in the first person i.e. “I said “XXX” and Craig said “XXX”. Try hard not to make assumptions about what the other person intended or thinks but just write down what happened as a stranger would see it.
Keep any emails or text messages between you and your former partner. And remember that they may be keeping your texts and emails so always be careful about what you put in writing. Even if you have deleted any ‘unhelpful’ texts on your part your former partner may not have – or if they have they may try to obtain them via subpoena to your telephone company.
For more advice about how to Communicate wisely with your ex post separation read our blogs “O” is for “Objective” and ““C” is for Communication.”