To Keep the Peace and Protect Yourself: Keep Good Records

By: Allison Schreiber Lee

When people come to see me about their ex not following the court’s orders regarding payments due and not paid, time missed with the children, demeaning or derogatory comments made by their ex, or any of the other ways former spouses fail to honor their obligations, one of the first things I ask is, “Can I see the records you have?” The reason for this first step is simple: In our day-to-day lives we just “know” when something is wrong; in the world of courtrooms, we have to prove it.

For example, when someone is not paying their share of the court-ordered shared children’s expenses, records are essential. An email trail of the agreement on the expense (if it is something that requires consent of the parties), and the receipt of payment attached to an email asking for reimbursement, is better evidence to prove your case other than just “I know I sent it.” Or when, rather than handing your former spouse cash, you pay what is required of you by check so that you have the written check and the endorsement from your ex, claims against you about what you have not paid are often laid to rest.

When you are asking for more time with your children because your ex doesn’t spend the time s/he is currently awarded, a calendar can be a great tool. Recording the days that your ex is supposed to have the children and the days your ex actually does take the children can provide a visual aid to the court supporting your claims, in addition to just being good evidence. Making the calendar entries at the time the problem occurs makes your record-keeping a lot more acceptable to the court than if you try to create it based upon your memory months or years later.

Record keeping is the best way to help yourself and your case—both by protecting you by demonstrating what you have done right, as well as assisting you in proving what the other person has done wrong. For counsel on this or any other family law matter, please contact one of the attorneys at Paule, Camazine & Blumenthal, P.C.

Disclaimer

Allison Schreiber Lee

Allison Schreiber Lee

Allison Schreiber Lee is a seasoned trial attorney and has been lead counsel in more than 40 jury trials. In 2011, Ms. Schreiber Lee was co-lead counsel in one of the longest jury trials in the history of the City of St. Louis. Ms. Lee has also tried more than 100 non-jury trials to verdict, including representation in divorce and modification hearings.