Divorce is an emotionally taxing procedure. To add to the stress of it all, it’s also costly. When making the decision to divorce, it’s a good idea to map out a financial plan for yourself. Although it can be a daunting task, doing so can protect your financial needs and help minimize the strain that divorce can put on your emotions and your finances.

1. Start saving money

On average, divorce costs $15,000 per person. This number often includes court costs and hiring experts to help you through your divorce. To prepare for this financial hit, consider opening a separate bank account if you and your spouse share a joint account. This way, you can start saving money to cover the cost of your divorce and to prepare yourself to live on a single income once your divorce is final.

2. Gather your documents

Providing proof of your financial situation can help the negotiation process run more smoothly. It may take some time to gather all the necessary documents, so starting as soon as possible can help speed up the process down the line.

Collect and organize important financial documents so that your lawyer and other parties involved can access information about your individual and joint payments. Courts can then use that information for determining equitable distribution. Some examples of the documents you will need are:

  • Paycheck stubs
  • Income tax returns
  • Checking and savings account statements
  • Credit card statements
  • Loan ledgers
  • List of individual and shared assets

3. Get assistance

Going through a divorce is emotionally draining enough as it is. With added financial strains, it can get even more complicated and overwhelming. When planning for your financial future after a divorce, financial advisors and attorneys can help you sort out your personal information so that when your divorce is finalized, you don’t have to worry about having missed an important step.