Luck favors the prepared, especially in divorce proceedings.

If you are considering a divorce, there are some important steps to take beforehand. By preparing ahead of time, you can cut down on much of the stress and uncertainty that people often face during and after the divorce process. Planning ahead allows you to save time and money during the process, and will enable you to start preparing for your life after divorce.

Below are some things to think about as you begin preparing for a divorce.

Consult with an attorney.

One of the most important decisions you will make will be to hire an attorney.  The relationship between a family law attorney and his client is unique in that the relationship is both business and personal. They will represent your interests in court, so you want to be sure you can trust that they know what you want and are willing to work hard to achieve it. Building a personal relationship of trust between the attorney and client is very important.

On the other hand, you have the right to represent yourself. However, the divorce process can be complex so anyone who can afford representation should seek it out from a professional. Issues such as dividing marital property, deciding child custody, negotiating alimony and determining child support can have long-lasting consequences if not handled properly. A qualified family lawyer can help you become informed about your legal rights and responsibilities, discuss what your options are, and provide tailored advice to help further prepare you for an eventual divorce. Lastly, it is best to find an attorney who practices primarily in the field of divorce or family law.

Get organized.

You are going to have to gather and organize a lot of information for your attorney early on in your divorce case. The amount of information can seem overwhelming, so it makes sense to begin gathering information and understanding where you stand financially as soon as possible. Start gathering and copying all documents, including documents that relate to your children, income, real estate, financial accounts, title information, marital debts, and communications between the parties. It helps to have tax statements for the last three years, as well as pay stubs and employment information.  Once you’ve gotten organized, your attorney can help create a plan of action designed to help you to succeed at the end of the divorce process.

Plan an exit strategy.

Possibly the most important thing is planning your exit strategy for leaving the relationship. After you to decide that you’re going to get a divorce, it is imperative that you spend time developing a plan for moving forward. Pre-divorce planning is not about sabotaging your spouse. It’s about making intelligent, sensible choices. It requires thoughtfully planning all facets of your life from where you are now to where you hope to be. Consider where you’re going to live, your financial situation, and what is best for your children, if there are any. If there are children between you and your spouse, it is important to prepare to help your children through this process.

Also, after a divorce, it can be difficult to purchase a home or a car if you shared credit with your spouse for several years. It’s important to establish your own credit and build up a good credit score. If you don’t have any credit in your name, you may want to establish some before you file.

Take it one day at a time. Try to control only those things within your control. Make a plan and go to work on it. Getting organized and having a plan of action is how you will take control of your divorce and avoid letting it take control of you.

Take the high road.

Lastly, it’s important to remember that you will be under a microscope during the divorce process. As such, before and during divorce proceedings, you may want to be hyper-vigilant regarding your behavior. Anything that could be interpreted as inappropriate behavior could be used against you in court so it’s important to exercise a lot of caution. This is especially crucial if child custody is an issue in your case.