"God, I wish I had done that!"
Written by
Rachana Arya
September 2017
Written by
Rachana Arya
September 2017

Our life is bookended by documents. We’re given a birth certificate after our first breath and a death certificate after our last. In between, we accumulate innumerable certificates, contracts, deeds, diplomas, licenses, registrations, titles and so on.

It seems like just yesterday that my marriage went up in flames; when I first realized that I was alone, with no compass or road map to follow. All that I had in hand were concerns, worries, financial debts, finding a place to live and paying for it all by myself, facing the judgmental society and the bills. God, the bills!

There was so much to fret over, I didn't have the time or energy to stress over some of the finer points of household management.

Getting my documentation in order fell far down the list. And it wasn’t until yesterday when school authorities asked me for a legal document for obtaining degree certificate for my daughter, that I realized, "God, how could I have missed that!" How the heck did I overlook that?!

Adjusting to life as a single parent involves facing numerous energy-sapping challenges that may not have existed before your divorce or your spouse's death.

But it is important that you have complete and very organized files with all documents. Important documents include, but are not limited to passports, birth certificates, financial documents, identity card, insurance policies, health policies and most importantly EACH AND EVERY School record of your child. It’s important to ensure that the full, legal name is used in the same spelling in every document. These hard-to-replace documents should ideally be kept in a safe drawer. It’s not enough to merely have these documents. It is important to back up all these documents in digital formats.

Having learned my lesson, I urge you to streamline your documents from a jumble of papers and folders into a single storehouse. Else, get ready to run from pillar to post, through the heat and the endless queues, just like I am doing right now.


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