When we think of divorce, we often picture a disgruntled couple fighting in a courtroom over family heirlooms and time with their children. For many couples, working things out in a calmer setting may be the way to go. Collaborative divorce has gained popularity over the past decade, as many couples find that a lengthy court battle is not worth their time, money, and energy.

The collaborative divorce process typically involves both parties sitting down with their respective attorneys and other experts to come to an agreement outside of the courtroom. While the parties’ attorneys are still representing their respective clients, the goal is not to demolish the other side, but rather, to work together to find happiness for both sides. Experts, including financial planners and mental health professionals, are often present to provide guidance throughout the process.

By agreeing to a collaborative divorce, both parties are likely to move forward with their finances in tact and emotions under control. Whether you decide to go for a collaborative divorce or choose a more traditional approach, financial planning is often the key to a successful divorce and post-divorce life.

Even if your soon-to-be ex was the one responsible for the finances during the marriage, it is extremely important that you bring yourself up to speed as soon as possible as you begin the divorce process. Gather all financial documentation, including bank records, property titles, and credit card statements, and consider reviewing these documents with a family law attorney or other expert as soon as possible. By being prepared, you can avoid a lot of the challenges that come with divorce.