If you have made the decision to divorce, you have already made a huge step toward a new future. But, now that you have decided, there are a few things you need to do before you actually file for divorce. Unfortunately, it is not as simple as signing a few papers and going on your way. Divorce requires planning and preparation so that you can walk out of the final divorce proceedings ready to start your new life.

While your specific circumstances will dictate exactly what you need to do, it is always beneficial to have a guide to start with. Use the following tips to make the proper preparations before you file for divorce.

Get your financial documents in order

Finances are a big part of divorce. In fact, many divorces end up in the courtroom with each spouse fighting over various assets. For example, you and your husband might not be able to agree on what to do with your house in Columbus, or perhaps there is come contention over how to divide a stock portfolio or retirement accounts. To prepare for this, gather all of the financial documents that pertain to the marital property. This includes bank statements, credit card bills, car leases and the deeds to any real estate you own. Once you have this information, put the documents in a safe place, such as a safe deposit box.

Create your own financial identity

If you do not already have a credit card solely in your name or a separate bank account, now is the time to take these steps. Once your divorce is final, you will want to be able to purchase your own car or house without a co-signer. In order to do this, it is vital that you establish your own financial identity and build up a credit report separate from your soon-to-be ex-spouse's.

Enlist help

One of the best things you can do to ensure you get through your divorce and come out the other side ready to move forward is build a strong divorce team. Many people think that all you need is a divorce attorney, but this is actually only one member of a divorce team. You may also need a financial advisor, accountant, therapist and, of course, your close friends and family. No one should go through a divorce alone and building such a team will ensure that you do not have to.

If you have completed the above steps, it might be time to file for divorce. While these tips can help you get started, your particular situation might require a few more steps.

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