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Three steps to get started preparing for divorce

Divorce can be a stressful experience. If you are like many people headed for divorce, you probably dread the thought of the paperwork, conflict and negotiations. You may even try to put the thought of divorce out of your mind for as long as possible. However, this could put you at a disadvantage in the courtroom.

If you know divorce is in your future, it may be prudent to begin preparing for it as soon as possible. Taking time early on to prepare can help reduce your stress during the process and may even help you achieve more desirable results.

Inventory your assets

A good way to get started preparing for divorce involves creating an inventory of your assets. You may also consider listing corresponding documents next to each asset, and noting for each asset if you think it is marital or separate property. Generally, property that was acquired during marriage is marital property, which is subject to division, and property obtained before marriage is separate property, which is not subject to division.

Organize important documents

Once you have created a list of all your assets and related documents, you should collect the documents and organize them. This may be a good time to make sure you have your own copy of all important documents, which you should store in a safe place. The way you organize your documents does not matter, as long as your system allows you to quickly find any document you may need. Typically, this can be achieved by grouping similar documents together in a way that makes sense to you.

Estimate future expenses

Another valuable way you can prepare for divorce is by tracking your family’s current income and expenses, and using that information to estimate what your financial situation may be after divorce. Consider examining household expenses in a variety of categories, such as bills, food, clothing, entertainment and transportation. Having an idea of your future financial situation can help inform the decisions you make during divorce, like if you can afford to keep the marital home or if you want to seek child support.

The divorce process can feel overwhelming. However, if you have taken time to properly prepare, you may be less stressed and in a better position to achieve the outcomes that matter most to you.

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