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What steps should you take before filing for divorce?

Deciding to end your marriage is difficult, but the process becomes more challenging if you do not take steps to prepare first. The more preparation you do in advance, the easier it is to navigate the process with comprehensive documentation.

There are several things to do when you decide that divorce is the right solution.

Consult with an attorney

The first thing that you should do is to meet with an experienced family law attorney. They can advise you on the divorce laws and processes specific to your situation. Choose an attorney you feel comfortable with and who has expertise in cases similar to yours. Discuss issues such as asset division, alimony, child custody and support. They can help you strategize and build the strongest case.

Gather financial records

Compile tax returns, bank and credit card statements, mortgage information, retirement account details and other financial paperwork for you and your spouse. This provides a clear picture of assets, debts and income to divide equitably. Update your will and beneficiary designations on insurance policies or accounts. Open separate bank accounts to protect your finances during proceedings.

Secure important documents

Make copies of your marriage certificates, prenuptial agreement, birth certificates, social security cards and other vital records. Change the passwords on any accounts your spouse could access. Redirect your mail and cancel any joint credit cards.

While it may feel uncomfortable, taking proactive steps prepares you for the legal process. With thorough documentation and realistic expectations, you can achieve the fairest outcome.