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Prepare for a New Year's divorce with these 4 steps

You're pretty sure you want a divorce -- but you've decided to delay formal action until after the holidays are over.

That does not mean, however, that you should just sit around and look for ways to kill the time between now and then.

Four ways to get ready for your divorce

The more you have at stake in your divorce, the sooner you should readying yourself for the future. Here are some of the best steps to take:

  1. Take a good look at your budget. In a high-asset divorce, your lifestyle may become an important factor in settlement negotiations. With that in mind, you want to be able to discuss your needs in detail.
  2. Get credit in your own name. Look at the credit cards in your wallet. Are any of them solely your own (not shared with your spouse)? If not, it's time to open a couple of cards so that you aren't starting your new life without credit.
  3. Start collecting financial records. You will need copies of your joint tax returns for the last few years, along with insurance policies, investment account information, data on any retirement funds, the deeds on any real estate you may jointly own and information about your debts. Gathering all that now can make life a lot easier down the road.
  4. Gather your support circle. It never hurts to turn to your close friends and relatives or a therapist during this time for some comfort and advice. Once your divorce becomes public, you can expect many of your existing relationships to change, so try to carve out new avenues of support for yourself.

Finally, you probably shouldn't wait to speak to an attorney. Even if you are firmly decided about not filing until 2021, learning more about the divorce process and your options can help you make plans.

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