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4 steps people considering divorce should take now

The month of January is all about having a fresh start. With a new year comes the opportunity to set goals and let go of the negative things in your life. If you are reading this, then your marriage may be one thing that you may be ready to let go of in 2016.

Of course, deciding to file for divorce is a huge decision and it is probably not something that you are taking lightly. Not only does divorce end an important relationship, it can also result in serious financial and lifestyle changes that you need to prepare for.

If you are considering filing for divorce in 2016, here are a few steps to take now in order to prepare both financially and emotionally.

1. Get your financial documents in order.

Even if you aren't quite ready to file for divorce, it's important to gather and make copies of all relevant records such as bank statements, retirement account statements, credit card bills, mortgage statements, and any legal documents such as wills or trusts. It can be much more difficult to get these things from your spouse after the divorce has begun.

2. Meet with a divorce lawyer to go over your options.

You don't have to wait until you are ready to file to meet with a lawyer. In fact, meeting with a lawyer now can provide you with information that can be valuable as you weigh your options. Your lawyer can help you understand what to expect out of the divorce process and what your life could look like after a divorce.

3. Get a copy of your credit report and start building your own credit.

After a divorce, you will need to depend on your own credit to qualify for loans and credit accounts. You will want to get a copy of your credit report to make sure that it is accurate, and to make sure that your spouse isn't racking up marital debt that you aren't aware of. You can also begin opening accounts in your own name in order to strengthen your credit.

4. Make sure you have the emotional support that you will need.

Divorce can be one of the most emotionally-draining experiences of a person's life, and you need to be prepared to deal with the emotions ahead -- whether you decide to file or not. Meeting with a mental health professional is one way to make sure you get the support you need, but having a trusted friend to talk with can also be helpful.

You can read more about financially preparing for divorce in this article from Forbes.

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