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If you are unhappy in your marriage, you may be starting to consider getting a divorce. While this could be the right decision for you, it is not something to pursue lightly. There are some things you should take care of before you serve your spouse with divorce papers.

Ending your marriage, even if it is the best choice at the end of the day, can be a difficult process both emotionally and financially. Here are some matters to handle to make sure you are ready for the divorce process.

Take care of your emotions

 Your mental wellbeing should be your first priority. It goes without saying that breaking up with your spouse is going to be difficult. While it is completely normal to feel negative emotions such as anger, resentment and sadness, you should not let these feelings drive your decisions.

If you let your emotions run the show during your divorce, chances are it will be nastier, longer and more expensive than is necessary. Start taking care of your emotions now by seeking support from trusted family members, friends and perhaps a counselor.

Gather financial documents

Money is a central aspect of ending a marriage. Your marital finances will largely determine the outcomes of property division, child custody, child support and alimony payments. Start organizing your financial records so you have a clear picture of the marital finances. These are important documents to compile:

  • Bank account and credit card statements from the last year
  • Current retirement account statements
  • Recent pay stubs
  • Tax returns from the last three years

Additionally, you should start to create a list of marital property. Include any real estate, cars, furnishings, collectible items, business assets and pets. Having a clear picture of your finances and marital property can help the divorce go more quickly and smoothly.

Divorce may never be something you are completely ready for. These steps, however, can help you manage the process.