When you married, you expected to be with your spouse forever. Unfortunately, not all marriages last. After trying to work it out, you may have started to accept the fact that you will divorce. But before you begin the process, you will want to be as prepared as possible.

Divorce can often be a complicated process. If you and your spouse have built a life together, you will have many decisions to make about child custody and dividing your possessions. Being prepared may help ease the divorce process and move it along smoothly. Here are a few tips for how to prepare for divorce:

  • Gather any important documents – You should have copies of any financial records relating to your bank, retirement and investment accounts. Have a copy of paystubs to show you and your spouse’s income. You should also have a copy of the deed to your home. These documents are important for showing proof of you and your spouse’s financial means.
  • Separate any joint accounts or credit cards – Joint accounts will become separated during divorce proceedings. If you can do it earlier, you can simplify the process. However, even after separating them, make sure to keep track of what you spend.
  • Budget for life after divorce – Once you and your spouse go your separate ways, you must learn to support yourself on only one paycheck. Make a budget for your post-divorce expenses. These can include housing, utilities, car loan, cell phone, insurance and more. Planning for this now can help you adjust to life after divorce.
  • Seek the advice of professionals – Years of marriage can lead to complicated divorces. An accountant or financial planner can help you prepare for the cost of the proceedings and your life after. And an attorney can help educate you on the process of divorce and make sure you understand your rights.

Like with any major life event, you should be ready before divorcing. Once you decide to file, you can start taking steps to prepare for life during and after the proceedings. Starting early can help you be ready for any complications that may arise.