Steps to Take When You Realize It’s Time for a Divorce

It can be devastating to come to the conclusion that your marriage is no longer working and it would be better for the both of you to part ways. Especially if you’ve already put a lot of effort into trying to repair or strengthen the relationship, hoping you could somehow get it to work. However, sometimes that’s how life works out and it’s no one’s fault; people simply grow apart as life goes on. Other times there’s a reason behind the need for a divorce, possibly in order to protect yourself and your family or to get out of a bad situation. No matter what though, when the time comes that you realize it’s time to separate it’s important to get the ball rolling as soon as possible. The sooner you’re past the entire experience, the sooner you can begin focusing on healing and figuring out what you’re life looks like now that you’re free of a marriage that wasn’t working for you. When preparing to go through with the divorce, here are a few important steps to take when you’re ready to separate from your spouse.

Hire a Legal Professional

It can be difficult to know where to start when you realize it’s time for a divorce. Should you begin the process of moving out or get the papers drafted up first? Should you go about getting the legal processes started or inform your spouse that this is what you’re planning? A lot of these questions about what your first move should be will largely depend on your situation and the reasons for wanting the divorce. If you’re in a dangerous situation, it’s typically best to get out of danger first, while other times this might be a joint venture both you and your spouse want to pursue, and informing them you’re on board can move the process forward. At some point though, typically as your first or second move, you’ll want to file for divorce and begin getting your affairs in order. 

Even if it’s an amicable divorce, it might be in your best interest to hire a divorce lawyer in order to make it easier to navigate the legal process and learn more about your rights. This is also an excellent option if you want to attempt to settle outside of court and avoid ongoing litigation. Your divorce lawyer can also assist you in attempting to gain more custody time or obtain spousal support so that you can see and interact with your children and maintain your lifestyle. Overall, hiring a divorce lawyer is a smart method to ensure the outcome of the legal side of your separation works out in your favor.

Determine Your Financial Health

When it comes time to divide your shared assets and property with your spouse, it’s important to determine just how exactly your financial situation will change after the separation. This can be determined by gathering all of your financial documents and getting an idea of what you own and what will change once you’re separated. Things like vehicles, financial accounts, and the marital home will need to be split equally, which may require selling the real estate property or vehicles that you share. Especially the house since it’s possible neither of you will be able to afford living there anymore if you both aren’t paying for it. You should also make sure that you’re financially prepared to be living on your own instead of in a shared household, especially if you weren’t working while the two of you were together.

It is possible that you’ll be able to be granted alimony or child support if you weren’t working or made less than your spouse while the two of you were together. The amount can be determined by looking at your spouse’s financials, your financials, age, and the level of financial care your children will need. Keep in mind that should you be the larger breadwinner, this could be the opposite and you should account for having to pay alimony or child support during and after the separation.

Establish Your Credit

It’s always a good idea to work on improving your credit score, no matter the situation. Improving your credit score will ensure you can be prepared to rent an apartment or home after you divorce your spouse. A higher credit score will allow you to qualify for borrowing money in the future as you begin to live and support yourself independently of your spouse. Paying off debt, making your payments on time, and paying down your balances can quickly start to repair your credit. Avoid moving out of the house until the divorce is finalized because it can have a negative impact on your case.

Close Joint Accounts

Once it comes time to completely separate from your spouse, immediately close any joint accounts that you share with your spouse to avoid being responsible for repaying any debt that they acquire moving forward after the separation. You can also talk to lenders about paying a lower amount than what is owed before each account is closed should you yourself still owe money on any of them.


Knowing the right steps to take when you’re ready to file for divorce can allow you to protect yourself and prepare for the upcoming changes. Working with a legal professional will also make it easier to learn additional tips and avoid making mistakes that can delay the divorce proceedings or affect the outcome.