PREPARING FOR DIVORCE: STEPS TO TAKE RIGHT NOW

Going through a divorce can be a difficult time. However, the best way you can minimize the impact of divorce is to prepare in advance.

If you are considering divorce, here are some steps to take now to help you through the process:

Begin saving - You will need to have cash on hand to live on and pay your bills with during your divorce process. Your spouse may try to close out all bank and investment accounts and cut off your access to money. Because it's difficult to predict how your spouse will react, it's best to have some cash in reserve to help you through.

Collect documents - If you are considering divorce, try to gather as much financial information as you can and copy it while you still have access to it. Often, these critical documents go missing once you file for divorce. It's important to have copies of the following documents: bank statements, credit card statements, investment and retirement account statements, tax returns from the last couple of years, mortgage statements, and loan documents.

Prepare yourself emotionally - Try to get a social support system in place before the divorce gets up to speed. You will need a shoulder to lean on to discuss your feelings. This person can be a family member, friend, clergy member or spiritual advisor, a professional therapist, or any combination of the preceding.

Consult with professionals - Assembling a winning team of professionals, including a divorce lawyer and financial advisor, can help get you through the process. These professionals will be able to protect your assets and shield you from aggravation to get you the best possible results for your case, whether you expect your divorce to settle quickly or go all the way to trial.

If you are contemplating divorce, taking these steps can help make your divorce go as smoothly as possible.

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