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While December is full of holiday and good cheer, January is known for less happy tidings, such as an increase in divorce filings.

As explains in her article This Is Why January Is the Biggest Month for Divorce:

“Since January is a time for making resolutions and planning for the year ahead, couples may also want to take that time to reevaluate their marriage.”

If it looks like divorce will be part of your new year, whether by your choice, or your spouse’s, there are some immediate steps you can take to ring in these emotional, impending changes.

The Beginning Checklist: Planning to File for Divorce emphasizes these and other practical steps including:

  • Hire an attorney
  • Organize your financial paperwork
  • Consider mediators or collaborative divorce

In his article 40 Best Ways to Prepare for Divorce, author Grant Stoddard expands on these ideas, such as:

12. Enlist professional help: “…you’re going to benefit from professional help which, at a minimum, is going to take the shape of a divorce attorney or a mediator.”

14. Do everything you can to mediate: “If you think you and your spouse can come to a consensus on what’s fair, a mediator might be the best bet for both you and your bottom line.”

18. Familiarize yourself with the family finances: If you’re not the person in the marriage who handles the money stuff, “you’ll need to get yourself up to speed with the situation if you want a fair settlement.”

Read all 40 Ways in the full article.

However you approach it, divorce can be a messy, emotional transition for all involved. You’ll do well to familiarize yourself with the process, seek professional advice and get organized in advance as you ring in the new year and a fresh start.