As hard as it can be to admit when a marriage is over, it's important to be clear on what your next steps need to be. Getting your affairs in order prior to a divorce will not only help you expedite the filing process, it will minimize the appearance of impropriety on your part, and may save you a protracted legal battle. Further, it will mean less work for your lawyer as they prepare to represent you.
His and Hers
Depending on the divorce statutes in your state, you may have few legal options when it comes to division of property. Make sure you have documentation which reflects purchase dates for any property, where the money came from to make the purchase, and which reflects the names on those accounts. This can all be used as evidence to establish solitary versus joint ownership of real estate in some states, so make sure this paperwork can all be easily located and provided to your lawyer.
Financial accounts are a little different than real estate, in that checking or savings accounts are often considered joint, regardless of whose name is on them. Meanwhile, retirement accounts are sometimes excluded from joint property considerations. It's best to err on the side of caution though, and put together all documents relating to any monetary sum you have on record so that it can all be accounted for. Attempts to hide these funds can have punitive results.
Think of the Children
If minor children are living with you at the time you file for divorce you need to consider both their well being and how future custody arrangements will impact them. Avoid using them as a weapon against your spouse, as this can do more harm to your children than anyone else. Instead, consider fair arrangements with them in mind that allow them the most possible time to spend with you and your spouse separately.
Being a good parent should come before trying to be fair to your children, or getting your own way though, so make sure any official documents relating to custody contain specific language. Both parents should be capable of providing food, living accommodations and an appropriate level of comfort to the children. If you have reason to believe that this won't be possible with your spouse, make sure your lawyer adds specific language to the court documents to address that. This might include limiting access to the children until a permanent residence is secured, though stipulations should address any issue that might negatively impact your children.
Spend some time with more than one lawyer, and take advantage of free consultations to do so. Get questions answered and make sure your intentions are fully formed before proceeding. Once you've secured legal representation, you'll be able to take the next step and move forward with your divorce.