How to Prepare for Divorce and Separation

Before separating or divorcing, work out all the details regarding bill payment, home maintenance and child care before either spouse moves out of the marital residence. If you have large amounts of debt or significant assets, retain an attorney to help you prepare a written separation agreement so there is no confusion about each spouse's responsibilities will be. In addition to managing the logistical details of your divorce and separation, ensure you and your children have the emotional support you need to cope the transition.

Determine how you will divide your property. Consider which spouse will take control of your real property, household items, vehicles and business holdings.

Think about who will be responsible for which debts. Along with dividing your marital property, look at your debts, including your mortgage, credit cards and auto loans and decide who will make the payments throughout the separation and divorce.

Make a child custody and visitation plan. Consider how you will manage day-to-day care, as well as special events such as holidays, school vacations and special events. If your children are old enough to understand the implications of divorce, involve them in the visitation and custody planning.

Contact an attorney and research your state's divorce and marital property laws.

Develop emotional support systems to help you adjust to life after your separation. Talk to close friends and relatives about your plans to divorce and, if necessary, contact a counselor or therapist to help your process what is happening.