The way that you prepare for divorce is very important. You need to know what steps to take before you file. If you’re ready in advance, you increase the odds that the process is going to go smoothly.

Now, every marriage is different, as is every divorce. The following are general steps to consider, but they may not apply to everyone equally. Keep that in mind when deciding what is best for you. With that said, here are five steps you may want to take:

 Learn more about the family finances. Find out exactly how much your spouse earns and get copies of paperwork like pay stubs or tax returns.

  1. Dig into your legal options. Using mediation is far different from going to court, for instance, so you need to determine what is ideal in your situation.
  2. Carefully consider debt and assets together. You have to divide what you owe in much the same way that you divide what you own.
  3. Look into the assets that you don’t interact with often. Your spouse may handle all of the investing, for instance, and you need to learn how much money you have invested and where it is located.
  4. Think about how and when you want to ask for a divorce. The way that you break the news to your spouse can have a big impact on how they react to it and how contentious the divorce becomes.

These steps can definitely get you started on the right foot as you end your marriage. Be sure you take the time to consider your legal options and what rights you have.