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What preliminary steps should you take prior to a divorce filing?

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Each year thousands of Maryland residents make the decision to end their marriages. Although the now familiar term of "irreconcilable differences" can be the official reason that leads a couple to divorce, the reality is that there are innumerable reasons why either one person or both decide that they need to end the marriage. Arriving at that initial decision is one thing, but what's the next step?

According to a recent article, thinking about your financial situation should be a primary concern. This is especially true if the split is going to end up being a high asset divorce. After all, while many divorces will include disputes over issues such as child custody, child support and alimony, it is inevitable that all divorces must address asset division. When it comes to this issue, the recent article listed a few suggestions to help an individual come out of a divorce on a sound financial footing.

The primary suggestion in the article is that, if a person has decided that divorce is the only option, there are certain advantages to being the first to file. Among the reasons is the preparation that a person can put into the filing, gathering all necessary documents and taking stock of all of the couple's assets while they are still mutually accessible. This will help to avoid disclosure issues during the actual divorce process.

But, even before the divorce filing is made, the article suggests that money needs to be saved to fund the split. Most people probably hope that their divorce can go smoothly and avoid expensive litigation, but in a high asset divorce there can be a significant amount of assets at stake, and the other party may not be so amenable to dividing property interests, retirement plans or business assets.

Source: The Week, "Making money: Planning for divorce, and more," Sergio Hernandez, April 8, 2013

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