Each divorce is unique.  There are many things that can complicate a divorce, such as closely-held family businesses, multiple pieces of real estate, the lack of a prenuptial agreement, etc.   And that’s before you add high net worth individuals, or complex support or alimony to the equation. Regardless of how complex your divorce is, one of the most important things you can do is consult with an experienced divorce attorney to help you plan, strategize, and ultimately succeed through the process.

However, in addition to consulting with an experienced professional, there are things you can do to prepare yourself. The following tips can help:

Know Your Finances. If you do not handle the household finances, you will need to learn about this topic before diving into your divorce. This can include retirement accounts, property holdings, cash, debts, and liabilities. If you’re not entirely comfortable doing that, consult with an experienced financial advisor to get started.  A good first step is to start making copies of any and all financial documents you can find.

Have an Idea of What You Are Looking for in a Parenting Plan. If there are children, having a custody agreement/parenting plan is the first thing the Court is going to have you focus on.   Who the primary caretaker is, the schedule for the child(ren) and you and your spouse, what school the child(ren) will attend, how the holidays will be divided, etc. are all items for which you will want to consider and formulate a strategy. And be realistic; if you travel 20 days every month for work, chances are you are not going to be the parent with the majority of parenting time.

Prioritize and Decide Which Goals Are Most Important. Know what you want to get out of the divorce settlement and what is most important to you. For example, while some people might prioritize parenting time over everything else, some people focus more on money and property distribution. Thinking through your priorities will put you on the right track to help you get an appropriate and equitable settlement.

Divorce can be daunting, but there are experienced professionals (like me!) to help you every step of the way.