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4 things you should do to prepare for a divorce

If things are not working out between you and your spouse, you may be considering getting a divorce. Although divorce is not a step that should be taken lightly, if you have decided to go through with the process, it is important to prepare for it to ensure that the proceedings work out in your favor. Here are four measures that you should take if you plan to pursue a divorce:

Photocopy financial documents.

Instead of waiting until divorce proceedings are underway, it is best to go ahead and make copies your important financial documents, such as bank account statements, tax returns, investment account statements, insurance policies, credit card bills and retirement account statements. It is also a good idea to make copies of existing wills and documents that prove ownership, such as car titles.

If a divorce is not amicable, important files may become missing as proceedings progress. Thus, it is important to obtain a copy of needed documents before the divorce is underway.

Separate your finances.

Often, during a marriage, joint financial accounts are formed. For example, you may share a banking account and credit cards with your spouse.

While preparing for a divorce, it is important to separate your finances from those of your spouse as much as possible. Try to remove your name from joint bills. This can help ensure that your spouse does not hold you responsible for unreasonable purchases he or she makes on a joint account. In addition, it can help prevent your spouse's poor financial decisions from ruining your credit.

Be sure that your own credit is well established by the time the divorce is complete by opening credit cards in your own name and using them responsibly. Also, try to pay all of your current creditors on time to help protect and improve your credit rating.

Save money.

Once your divorce is final, you may have to rely on your income alone to support you. There is no guarantee that alimony will be awarded. Thus, it is important for you to increase your personal savings.

Once your spouse learns of your plans to divorce, he or she may stop providing income to help cover your expenses. In addition, you will need money to retain a divorce attorney if you plan to file for the divorce.

Meet with a divorce attorney.

To plan effectively for divorce, it is important for you to know your legal rights. It is best not to simply assume that your spouse has certain responsibilities. A divorce attorney can help you understand the steps that you should take and those that should be avoided to protect your best interests.

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