When people get married, they try to forget for a bit how common divorce is for couples in the United States. Yet while the divorce rate has dropped over the last several years, still in 2018, more than 780,000 married couples called it quits. Many divorcing couples who decide to divorce don’t realize how important preparing to file is.

The better prepared you are, the quicker and more smoothly your divorce might go. If you’re ready to move forward with your life, you can better prepare for divorce by following these seven steps:

  1. Compile financial documents about your assets and debts. If you have multiple assets in many different accounts, you may need a forensic accountant to help you document all your marital assets. You’ll need these records:
  • Bank account statements
  • Retirement account statements
  • Investment statements
  • Mortgage loan information
  • Vehicle loan information
  • Credit card statements
  • Tax returns for three years
  1. Evaluate your current spending. More than likely, you will be living on less income after your divorce. You need to identify where you could cut discretionary spending.
  2. Hire a divorce attorney. You want to find an attorney who you are comfortable with, who has experience handling divorces like yours. You also want someone who will get back to you quickly to answer questions and is willing to fight for your best long-term interests.
  3. Consider divorce mediation if you and your spouse want an amicable divorce. Divorce mediation often is resolved more quickly, with less cost, than a traditional divorce and can help keep your relationship with your ex more civil.
  4. Decide if you will leave your home. Then decide where you’ll live.
  5. Prepare a post-divorce budget. Once you have consulted with your attorney about what a fair divorce settlement might look like, prepare a post-divorce budget so you know what your expenses will be once your divorce is finalized.
  6. Get emotional support. You can reach out to trusted family members and friends. If you want to have a counselor help you, find one you feel can help you.

Going through a divorce never is easy. However, if you follow these steps, you’ll be better prepared for the process and for how to move forward when your divorce process is over.