The divorce process can take a very long time. It’s quite typical for several months to pass between the filing date and the final settlement, but in particularly complicated or high-conflict cases, it can sometimes take years.
It can be difficult to recall dates, times and the content of communications months after the fact with any accuracy. Keeping a diary or journal ensures you don’t lose any details due to time and also gives you an accurate and easy-to-access timeline of events. Recording conversations and incidents in a journal can also provide documentation for the courts and help your case in he-said-she-said situations.
Create an accurate record
Every time you make a note or entry in your journal, it’s important to record the date, time and who was involved. If you had a phone conversation with your ex to discuss switching weekends, for example, you’ll want to note the start and stop times for the call and a summary of what was discussed.
While it may not always be possible to make your notes during or right after the conversation, try to get everything down as soon as possible so you don’t forget something important. Sometimes it’s helpful to make shorthand notes during a conversation and then set aside a time every day to go through everything and expand as needed.
Also, remember to record the good with the bad. It’s usually the negative incidents that stick out in your mind. However, it’s just as important to keep track of the times your child comes home happy after a visit or you and your ex are able to have a positive conversation about the visitation schedule. Writing down the positives and the negatives also provides a more thorough record that is more realistic and likely more believable in court.
If an issue comes up later during custody or divorce proceedings, you will have a thorough record of what happened, who did what, and when.
It’s also a good idea to keep any other documentation, such as texts, emails or letters. If it’s something online, such as social media posting, taking a screenshot is an easy way to get the content, date and time all in one place.
Also, keep in mind, emails can get accidentally deleted and phones get dropped in water. Using a cloud service to store documentation ensures you always have access to what you need, and never delete or throw away anything. Even if things are going well with your ex now, that can change in a year or so, and you don’t want to have thrown away something that could have positively impacted your case.