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Divorce & Family Law This forum is for discussing any of the legal issues involved in your divorce.

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Old 02-14-2017, 02:01 PM
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Default Separation Agreement/Court Documents Retention Period

Hi all,

I'm having real difficulties finding an answer that I would be easy - that is what is the retention period for documents relating to a separation.

My ex and I settled with a final order from the judge in late 2011. At one point in time can I just shred these documents?

TIA

Rick
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Old 02-14-2017, 07:05 PM
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Why would you want to shred your separation agreement or court documents? Things can come up years down the road. Do you have children? Pay support at all?

I wouldn't suggest shredding any documents relating to your divorce


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Old 02-14-2017, 07:31 PM
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I was separated in 2009/divorced in 2010. I am ever-so-glad that I kept all of my documents. I will continue to keep the documents in perpetuity. They only take up 1 corner of a closet so it's not a big deal.
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Old 02-14-2017, 11:41 PM
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I think seven years after your ex dies?
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Old 02-15-2017, 12:19 AM
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How comprehensive is the final order? Does it cover absolutely everything that needs to be covered? I think it would be okay to get rid of earlier agreements or draft orders, as long as the content is covered in the final order (because that supersedes everything that went before it).

If you and your ex have had your final order for almost six years, it's not likely that either of you is about to contest it now, so I think preliminary documents can probably go. But of course, if you're worried that something might come back to haunt you, just stick the whole mess in a storage unit.
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Old 02-15-2017, 05:16 AM
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Thanks for the response. Yes, comprehensive and there are no outstanding issues of custody, child support or spousal support. This was my thinking - if I just keep the final orders for a little while longer, I don't see it being an issue. I'm just in the process of starting the divorce process, so I'll wait until that is done to ensure that there are no last minute issues/areas of contention.

Much appreciated
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Old 02-15-2017, 08:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rioe View Post
I think seven years after your ex dies?

After death 7 years should be plenty of time.
My family has a strange habit of hanging on to documents. I still have a box with my mother's papers (she passed away 5 years ago). In that box was my father's legal papers/will as well as grandparents documents).
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Old 02-15-2017, 10:21 AM
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keep everything. You never knew when you'll need it, or how badly you'll need it.

if you really must, take it all and burn it all into ashes, and spit on it. Especially if it was a ridiculous order that created and causes problems as opposed to solve problems.

If they were filed with the courts, then the court will always have copies.
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Old 02-15-2017, 08:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rmccallion View Post
Hi all,

I'm having real difficulties finding an answer that I would be easy - that is what is the retention period for documents relating to a separation.

My ex and I settled with a final order from the judge in late 2011. At one point in time can I just shred these documents?

TIA

Rick
I would suggest you take all the documents to Staples or go out and buy a two sided scanner and scan everything.

From your later posts you indicated that you are now seeking a divorce.
So your still not through it.

At the end of the day, you may want to rely in these documents are a number of reasons.

If you ex tries to change the separation agreement and makes claims that you abused her, if she previously stated before that their wasn't any abuse then you need that documented, this goes for everything under the sun, from inheritance to loans to anything else.

It's nothing but time to scan the documents, and back them up on to a memory key or burn them onto a cd.

I know people who have used documents from their first separation (custody proceeding) in their second (custody proceeding) with their new ex's to demonstrate that they are not abusive and do not have a history of being abusive.

Keep everything or back it up digitally.

I personally actually keep both.
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Old 02-20-2017, 02:29 PM
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When you're absolutely sure you'll never need them again. When the following are done (organized by issue)

Custody / Access / Child Support

- When the children are adults and finished post-secondary education, 26+, and not under any disability

Spousal Support

- When Spousal Support has terminated pursuant to the agreement; and
- More than 2x of the length of the relationship has passed (10 year marriage, wait 20 years)

Division of Property

- When the property (real and personal) has been divided and distributed; and
- Plus 7 years from the date of distribution

Remember, anyone can bring a motion to change, and if a party dies, the estate can advance claims the person might have had in life, hence the above numbers are to be safe.

I would always keep a digital copy of the separation agreement regardless. The above is when I would personally feel safe destroying the physical copies. They are not 'law'.
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