The way you prepare your finances for divorce will impact the process in many ways. The right steps will put you in a position to protect your legal rights and avoid unnecessary complications. Conversely, if you overlook something of importance, it could slow you down and bring on additional challenges.

Here are three key steps you should take when preparing your finances for divorce:

  • Gather all financial records: This varies from person to person but should (at least) include your bank statements, retirement account statements, pay stubs and tax returns.
  • List of your assets and debts: A property division checklist can help you get a clear idea of what you'll negotiate on during your divorce. Also, make a note of which assets are joint and which ones you solely own. A list of debts is also critical, as those will be divided similarly.
  • Open individual accounts: Once you close joint accounts, turn your attention to opening individual accounts. This will give you a jump-start on your financial future. For example, you should open a bank account and retirement account in your own name. You may also want a credit card for future spending.

Along with the above, don't hesitate to seek assistance from multiple professionals as you prepare for divorce. Consulting with a financial planner and/or tax professional can help you better understand what you should and shouldn't be doing before, during and after divorce.

The more prepared you are moving into the divorce process, the more confident you'll be during negotiations -- and that can make a successful outcome much more likely to happen.

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