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Divorces can have some of the most significant impacts on our lives. The consequences of a divorce can determine how we live and what structure our family will have. Many people might say that the consequences of divorce come from just the final divorce agreement, but that is not true. A spouse can begin to improve the outcome of their divorce before they even file for divorce.

There is a lot that goes into settling a divorce, so it pays to be prepared. There is a lot someone can do to get ready for a divorce, and here is a short list of steps everyone should take:

Talk to an attorney

This may seem like an obvious point, but many people make the mistake of pursuing a non-contested divorce without an attorney. Even if you and your spouse agree to make a divorce as easy as possible, you still need an attorney. It is easy to give away more than you should during these types of divorces, and a good lawyer can help you protect your best interests along the way.

Get a P.O. box

While you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse are still living together, there may be things that you might receive by mail that you do not want them to see. If your spouse got a hold of important legal or financial documents that came to you by mail, it could weaken your position in a divorce. Keep your mail private by getting a P.O. box.

Gather important documents

Some documents will save a lot of time and effort to have on hand. You want to gather a copy of your marriage license, nuptial agreements, trusts and wills, licenses, and anything else that you might feel is essential to your divorce.

Update your estate plan

You may not want your ex-spouse to inherit anything after your passing, so make sure to update your estate plan to reflect your new marital status. If you do not have a plan in place, create one. Without a proper estate plan, the government will dispense assets to the closest next of kin, so you want to be sure your estate goes precisely where you want it to.

Begin preparing today

The sooner you begin making preparations for your divorce, the better. Do not waste any time seeking an attorney or gathering documents, as you may not have the time for these steps later on.