How to Prepare for Divorce and Separation

by Teo Spengler
Prepare for divorce by getting your finances organized.

Prepare for divorce by getting your finances organized.

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Those who say that breaking up is hard to do are absolutely correct. Although you may not be able to repair your ruptured marriage, you can take immediate steps to prepare yourself for the inevitable. Getting prepared for the court action involves practical steps to organize your finances and your life.

Learn the Law

You are likely to feel more comfortable with the idea of a divorce if you know what to expect. Each state sets its own rules for property division, child custody and support issues, and every person facing the prospect of divorce should find out the lay of the land. Many state court websites provide basic information, and you can find more through reputable online legal services providers.

Ask for Help

Even if you think you and your spouse can work out an amicable marital settlement arrangement, get an attorney on your side as soon as you feel the cold shadow of a divorce falling over your marriage. An attorney can put you in touch with other professionals, such as accountants, who can help you figure out complicated financial issues. She can also put together a list of the documents you will need before a divorce is initiated.

Get a Fix on the Financials

The days are long gone where a husband had sole responsibility for the household finances and doled out expense money to his grateful wife. Yet, even with contemporary couples, one spouse often does the taxes or keeps the budget. If this isn't you, make it your job to learn everything you can about your marital finances. Copy bank records, retirement fund information, insurance policies, business records and tax returns, and store the copies in your attorney's office. The more hard facts you have heading into a divorce, the easier it will be to negotiate an equitable settlement.

Stand on Your Own

A divorce is always emotionally difficult. It is even more difficult when you have gotten out of the habit of standing on your own. Taking action now will make the passage less scary. Establish separate checking and savings accounts in your own name and arrange for your salary to be automatically deposited. Apply for credit cards in your own name as well, and change the password or code to your email accounts. And, if you expect to move out of the family home, there's no time like the present to begin looking for an apartment.