Why Documents Matter in Family Law
When a couple separates, they are usually asked to tell “their story”. They individually tell friends, family, colleagues and professionals about their relationship, why it ended and what their expectations are moving forward.
Amazingly, each person will tell a different “story”.
These different stories can sometimes be very distressing for the other person. They accuse their former partner of lying or embellishing to make themselves look like the “good guy”.
It can also be very hurtful to hear what your former partner really thought about you and your relationship but obviously didn’t previously have the courage to tell you.
Sometimes the stories can be so different that I often think people were not even in the same relationship.
There have been many studies done on perception and memory that show just how unreliable memory is. Take the World Trade Centre attack on September 11. The footage of the first plane hitting the north tower of the World Trade Centre was only shown for the first time the following day, yet a 2003 study found that 73% of people surveyed recall watching the plane hit the first tower live on September 11.
Given the emotional investment, the trust and intimacy and the high emotion surrounding people about to separate and the subsequent separation it is not surprising that people’s memories are not accurate and reliable.
In order to avoid disputes about property and children turning into a “he said” “she said” argument, separated people need to pull together as many documents as possible.
Documents are king and should be the first and last thing that everyone refers to.