What It Means When I Close Your File

I added this page to explain why I close case files and what happens when I do.

I try to keep my filing system current, and it’s important to me to make sure that no client falls through the cracks. To do this, I monitor all my clients using a tickler system.

A few weeks after you and I prepare the papers for your uncontested divorce or other transaction, if you have not returned to me the signed documents ready for filing, I will send you a quick reminder message by e-mail. If I do not receive the signed documents a few weeks after that, I will close your file and let you know that I am doing so. I don’t charge for the time it takes me to sendf the reminder e-mail or the message that I’m closing your file.

At some point, however, if I were to keep your case open I would need to charge you for all the extra time it is taking me to keep track of it and to send you those messages. Most clients don’t want to pay for that extra time on a case that may come to nothing, so my solution is to stop monitoring the case, stop sending messages, and “chill.” That’s when I close a file.

When I close a file, I stop tracking it on my tickler system. That’s it. That’s all that “closing your file” means. If you return the signed documents to me soon after I close the file, I’m able to scan your signed documents and file them just as I would if you got it to me right away, and you and your case are back in business.

So please don’t get alarmed if you hear from me that I am closing your file. It’s simply a way of keeping your cost low.

Now, having said that, I should also remind you that divorce documents are a little like fresh strawberries; they have a limited shelf life. So if several months have gone by since we prepared your documents and you send them to me, there’s a high likelihood I’ll tell you they’re too stale to file with the court.

A few months after I close your file, I will image all the documents in it and destroy the printed pages. I wait to do this until after the documents are too stale to file with the court. This means I will always have a photographic record of your documents but will no longer have the originals. I do this for the same reason I do most of the things I do in my practice, to keep your costs as low as possible.

So what’s the bottom line? Closing your file isn’t in itself a cause for alarm; there’s still time to get your spouse or former spouse to sign the documents and get them to me for filing with the court. However, it’s an indication that if you’re still waiting on something, time is quickly running out.

Because this page talks about my legal practice, it’s important that I say this: No representation is made that the quality of the legal services to be performed is greater than the quality of legal services performed by other lawyers.

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