There are few people in the world who can truly say that they love paperwork. Unfortunately, the whole divorce process creates an abundance of it, and if you aren’t organized, it can really cost you a lot of money. That’s on top of the stress and anxiety that could appear when you can’t find a particular document you need to send to your attorney or mediator. Trust me, that is the last thing you need while you’re going through a divorce!
The reality is that some people treat their divorce papers like they do their taxes. You can’t just put everything in a shoe box, drop it to your attorney or mediator, and let them figure it out. Well, you can, but that will cost you so much in billable hours. Instead, sit down with your divorce financial advisor, get yourself organized, and then bring it to your attorney or mediator.
In case you can’t tell, staying organized throughout the divorce process is beyond essential! Here are four simple ways you can organize yourself to maintain your peace of mind and save yourself money during your divorce.
The worst thing that could happen is a piece of paper you need desperately isn’t available. Either it fell out somewhere, got lost, or is otherwise not where it should be. Further, when you page through folders, the papers end up jumbled and incredibly disorderly.
That’s a recipe for stress and wasting time. Any parent who has to cajole their kids to clean their room knows that speech by heart!
So, save time and the heartache of disorderly and lost papers by creating an organized divorce binder for yourself. When you use a binder, essential papers are tucked away and impossible to lose because they won’t fall out.
If you want an example to follow, my Divorce Resource Bundle has a binder template created for you. I’ve included which sections you need, what should go in it, and worksheets to help you stay organized during your divorce.
During your divorce, you will drop off documents to various entities. It’s likely that you could forget who has which document, then it gets lost, and it’s a whole circus to get it remade.
The best way to prevent that scramble is to create and update a master list with all your activity. Include which document got dropped off and where, the contact you gave it to, the date of drop off, and when you picked it up or where it went next.
While this list could go in your organized divorce binder, it’s a timesaving and really useful document to have, so I wanted to call specific attention to this. This will save you more time than you can imagine, I promise!
After every conversation with your attorney or divorce financial advisor, there will be things you’ll need to follow up on and take care of. It can get very overwhelming if you solely keep track of it in your head (or if you just scribble as much as you can remember on a piece of paper you happen to find in your car after your meeting). Your brain is already taxed and working overtime - give yourself a break!
Tuck a small notebook inside your divorce binder and use that exclusively to house your task list. This way, you’ll stay organized and on top of what needs to happen. Further, all your divorce tasks are organized in one place without having anything fall through the cracks.
This is also a great way to keep track of questions that arise. Remember that if you’re working with an attorney, they are likely billing you for every phone and email exchange. Organize your questions so you can use your time with them efficiently.
Most people keep a calendar, generally speaking. When you’re going through a divorce, I’d highly recommend beginning or doubling down on this practice. As you know, there are a fair amount of appointments to keep track of; you’re getting billed for that time whether you’re prompt or late to the meeting.
It’s also important to note when you’re with your children, for how long, and any expenses incurred on the exact date it happened. This will make things infinitely easier (and your stressed brain won’t have to store that information).
Going through a divorce is stressful enough as it is. Please don’t make it harder on yourself than it has to be. Keeping an organized divorce binder with all of these elements will give you peace of mind. It will also save you a tremendous amount of money because you’re no longer unnecessarily going back and forth with attorneys.
At the end of the day, having a clear repository for documentation is important. Whether it’s electronic or hard copy, the most successful and organized divorce clients take responsibility for that info.