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Should you keep your divorce records?

If you go through a divorce in California, you may really just want to put the whole thing behind you and forget about it. As such, you could be tempted to get rid of your divorce records. After all, the marriage is done, so what use do you have for the paperwork?

Despite wanting to put the whole thing in the past, it's actually important to hang on to your divorce records for a few reasons. For one thing, if you choose to get married again in the future, you may not be allowed to get a marriage license until you can show that you ended the previous relationship. The court will want more than your word, asking to see the records to ensure that you're not breaking any laws regarding polygamy.

It's also important to keep the records if the divorce terms got complicated. Sometimes, a clause could be put into the terms that doesn't matter right now, but that will matter in the future. You want to have all paperwork on hand so that you remember how it works and so that you can prove what is legally required by both parties.

For example, when splitting up assets, you may have been granted a portion of your spouse's pension plan. However, he or she may not get those pension payments for 10 more years. When your spouse retires, you still want to make sure that the right amount of money is sent to you.

Be sure you keep your divorce papers in a safe place and that you fully understand both the rights and obligations that they create.

Source: Records Project, "What Uses Do I Have for Divorce Records?," accessed March 11, 2016

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