Divorce is a stressful and emotional experience that can make it difficult for you to think about the future. After all, you are completely upending and changing your entire life by dissolving your marriage.

It can be easy to be so stuck in the moment that you don’t focus on what will benefit you most in the long run. When your emotions run the show, you could end up making bad decisions that can haunt your financial circumstances for years to come.

The good news is that it is never too late in the divorce process to start taking a long view regarding the impact of your decisions. The decisions that you make in the next few weeks can help set you up for financial stability as your divorce proceeds. 

If possible, talk to an attorney before you file

Having a strategy in place before you serve your spouse with divorce paperwork can seem cold, but it is a practical approach to a difficult process. From ensuring that you can get tax and financial paperwork that you will need to setting you up with realistic expectations regarding property division and financial support, early consultations can be critical in reducing the financial impact of the divorce.

Consider sitting down with a financial planner to preserve your assets

Divorce will mean splitting everything from your investment accounts and real estate equity to your retirement savings or pension plan. Although a 50-50 split isn’t always the outcome, you can expect that the accounts you currently hold will decrease substantially by the end of your divorce due to property division.

Working with a financial professional can help you seek the most advantageous terms in the divorce and maximize the assets you do have. Making smart investment decisions with resources you currently have and adjusting your plans for retirement now are key to your future financial security, a step which many people considering divorce often skip.

Be realistic about your expectations and demands

Unnecessarily contentious divorce proceedings can consume significant amounts of court time and result in massive costs. For example, fighting for sole custody just because you’re mad that your ex cheated on you likely won’t result in success but will probably drastically increase the cost of the divorce and the animosity between you and your ex.

Your attorney can give you advice about the likely outcome given your family circumstances and help guide you toward a proper strategy as your divorce moves forward.