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Is it okay to shred divorce paperwork?

The holiday season is almost over, and tax season is just around the corner. This also means that identity theft may be on the rise, and many Massachusetts residents usually choose to shred their personal documents. Apart from identity theft, a number of spouses do not want to review the documents again in the future. Many question whether ex-spouses should shred their divorce documents.

Most of the commonly shredded paperwork consists of Social Security numbers, account numbers and monthly credit card bills. There are other documents that are kept in a safe place such as marriage certificates, birth certificates and wills. Divorce documents are usually recommended to keep also, but there are mounds of related paperwork, including court transcripts and financial information. However, some people may not want to keep them due to painful reminders of the court proceedings.

It is absolutely necessary for ex-spouses to keep a copy of their divorce decrees, which state the legal date of divorce. The other information pertaining to family issues and child custody do not need to be kept. It's important to keep in mind that, even though divorce documents are shredded, there is still access to it through the court system.

Considering that divorce cases are public record, many Massachusetts spouses choose to adopt the collaborative divorce method or mediation. These methods help to protect their privacy while still being able to obtain advice from legal and financial experts. In addition, these are healthier approaches, and spouses can still have fair distribution assets. An experienced family law attorney can help advise divorcing spouses on the best way to resolves their cases.

Source:, "When should you shred your divorce documents?", Myra Fleischer, Dec. 17, 2014

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