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One thing that I always recommend to clients preparing for a court battle is to prepare a timeline. Eventually a shortened version of it will be needed prior to final hearing, but you can save a lot of time and money by getting one going as soon as your matter is filed - if not sooner. The less time your solicitor has to spend sorting evidence to make a coherent story the less it will cost.

The more organized your information is the less time you need to waste hunting it out time and again when you're thinking through the million and one things you need to work out to make your case. It also lessens your stress, because you have a sense of being more in control of your case, and the long-term effects of stress can leave you in a distressed state of mind that could be used against you by your ex (or Child Safety, if that's the reason you're on this site).

If you are reading this you must have at least some access to a computer. It is worth learning how to use a simple spreadsheet. If you don't have Excel, Openoffice does the same thing, just for free. In the first row of column A type in 'Date.' Beside that in Column B type 'event.' Then in Column C type 'Witnesses.' Column D is 'Evidence.'

Right-click the 'A' at the top of the first column, to highlight the entire column. The left-click to get a menu of formatting options, and 'format cells' date, selecting dd/mm/yy as the format.

Now go back to the beginning - when did you meet your ex? 1/1/1995? Put in the data:
Date Event Witness Evidence
1/1/95 Met ex. Her sister. SMS next day.

You're good to go. As you think of and locate evidence you can add it in. You can also learn to sort by date so that things added later get to the right row. If there are physical pieces of evidence you can put them in a manila folder in a box, in date order, and then your spreadsheet is an index to whatever you have to work with. If you want to get fancy, if you have events on two rows, and think of something that happened between those two dates, a right click on the automatically-generated row number will get a menu where you can 'insert row,' and then a blank row will appear that you can use, in the correct spot.

Of course, if there are more pieces of evidence, you can add them to column E, F, G, etc. If there are pieces of evidence that you know exist but need to find, it's a good idea to right-click the cell, 'format cells' and go to 'Background.' Change the background to red or green or some colour that will remind you when you look at the sheet to hunt for that vital piece of evidence!

There is a huge range of things that could be evidence. Receipts and SMS's of course, possible voice recordings, CCTV (always worth checking out!) or other things.

You might think more things are important that your solicitor does, but I always suggest that you err on the side of including things if you think that Evidence X proves Point Y. The final version that can be printed out (Columns A and B only) for the Court will always be shorter than what you've created. But better to have your fingers on things that might prove useful than simply leave them out then have to chase things at the last minute!

Weeding through evidence you will find that a few SMS messages are very important, and most are not. But sometimes a receipt showing you were at Canberra McDonalds on the morning of 25/9/12, when you are accused of being in Melbourne at about that time 'stalking' your ex, might just be lifesaving. Keeping it safe could make a huge difference to your matter. Documents that are obviously very important should be scanned and stored in a safe online account with a secure password that your ex won't be able to guess. Ideally, though for Court purposes, a JP-certified true copy will carry more weight on the day if required. A fireproof document safe is a good idea generally even if you're not involved in these proceedings, so if the importance of this point is clear, let this motivate you to get one!

JP-certified copies of things can include screenshots of facebook exchanges. A screenshot is one thing, a screenshot printed out and certified by a JP who has sighted the original page is conclusive. Once again, fireproof document safe! Once your ex realises you have social media evidence, expect to be blocked and the page taken down. This realisation may occur well before you file your affidavit with the screenshot.

If you are really not computer literate, I have seen people manage their cases equally successfully with a simple box of recipe cards, which you can still buy. All that is needed is to keep it chronological, so it corresponds with the manila folders in your box!

So start the process yesterday, and start clearning more space in your brain for the clear thinking you need to do without the clutter of worrying about whether you've got everything and where it is!
Great stuff, very important to be clear on the timeline and think of it in advance!
We Put Your Interests First. Regular communication & accredited specialists at knoxfamilylaw.com.au  Exclamation
(30-Nov-2016, 11:05 PM)knoxfamilylaw Wrote: Great stuff, very important to be clear on the timeline and think of it in advance!

Thanks for the feedback! And FYI that was my temp account while this one was in limbo, if you need to contact me, please message this one. Cheers!


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