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Consider planning for your Michigan divorce

The idea of planning for a divorce may seem a bit counter-intuitive; after all, doesn't divorce "sneak up" on most people? The fact is that many Michigan residents start considering dissolving their marriage during back-to-school time. The vacation suitcases are stored, the kids are spending the day in class -- and parents begin mulling over the idea of a divorce. Before you take the plunge and file the formal paperwork, you should take a few steps to protect your personal financial and legal interests.

The first step in your divorce process should be gathering information about your financial holdings. Make sure that you know what you own -- and make photocopies of important documents related to those assets. Start tracking your daily expenses so you can characterize your cost of living. Further, try to obtain copies of your past three years' tax returns, along with information about your retirement accounts and other related benefits.

Spouses are also encouraged to obtain an individual credit card if they do not already have one in their wallets. Freezing your joint credit cards can be a good idea, as an unscrupulous partner can quickly run up debt without restrictions. Be sure that you have a copy of your own credit report, which will allow you to characterize your debts and liabilities while putting you in position to make other important financial decisions.

Couples are encouraged to research the right divorce method for handling their property division. Litigation is a good way to handle some divorce legal issues, but couples in an uncontested divorce may also benefit from mediation or another collaborative approach. A little bit of planning before your divorce can expedite the process, helping you get your fair share of the marital estate before moving into your new life.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, "How to Plan for a Divorce" Veronica Dagher, Sep. 06, 2014

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