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Maybe you know that divorce is in your future. However, there never seems to be a good time to do it. Perhaps neither you nor your spouse has wanted to be the one to “pull the plug” on the marriage and file for divorce.

By preparing for divorce and then filing first, you put yourself in a better position for a number of reasons.

Why you should start preparing early

It’s easier to get the attorney and other professionals you need.

An attorney will be “conflicted out” of helping you if your spouse has already spoken to them – even if they ended up hiring a different attorney. This will also give you a better chance to retain your preferred financial advisor, accountant and other professionals you may want on your side. It’s usually better to find people who haven’t been working for the two of you as a couple.

It’s generally easier to locate and copy documents.

It’s often wise to locate and copy as many financial and other relevant documents as possible before your spouse is aware that you’re filing for divorce. There’s less chance of them trying to hide things, close accounts or move money around.

You’ll have time to open accounts and credit cards in your name.

If you don’t already have them, this is an important step toward financial independence and establishing your own credit record. That’s not the same as hiding money or debt, as you’ll need to disclose these accounts in the divorce.

Why filing first can help you

You’ll gain emotional strength.

By being the one to act first, you’ll feel less like this divorce is something that happened to you. It’s the first of many steps you’ll be taking to start this new phase of your life.

Finding an attorney with whom you’re comfortable and who understands your situation and your goals for the divorce is an important first step. They can advise you on the next steps to take to put you in the strongest possible position when you file for divorce.