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Divorce papers: When it's time to shred the documents

A divorce can be a difficult time in your life, and it comes with documentation that reminds you of it for many years to come. At what point should you shred your divorce papers, and is it safe to do so?

These are important documents fueled with emotion, so it is not uncommon for people to ask when they can get rid of them. The simple answer to when you should get rid of these important documents is that you shouldn't.

The final divorce judgment itself should never be shredded. It should be kept somewhere that is easily accessible, like a safe or safe deposit box. Any other important paperwork should be kept in a fire safe location in your home or off-site.

While it might feel good to shred your divorce papers, doing so isn't going to hide any evidence of an ugly divorce, and it's likely already available for the world to see. There's a permanent record of your divorce that the public can actually access regardless of what you do with your copy of the paperwork. The only way to keep your divorce out of the public eye is to settle most of the divorce outside the courtroom with the help of your attorney. If you do that, keep documentation to prove the agreements for as long as you need proof.

If you have divorce records that are sad or contentious, you may not need to keep them all, but it's better to do so if you can. Simply keep the final divorce decree somewhere safe. If you feel that you must keep the paperwork but don't want anyone to come across it accidentally, consider using a private safe at an off-site location.

Source: Communities Digital News, "When should you shred your divorce papers?," Myra Fleischer, Oct. 10, 2016

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