You meant those vows when you said them.

To love and to cherish. For better or worse. ‘Til death do you part.

Then life got in the way.

Irreconcilable differences. Infidelity. Infertility. Irresponsible spending.

Whatever the reason, about 2 million couples in the United States divorce each year. If you see that your marriage is headed that way, there’s only one thing you can do.

Plan – before your divorce, during it and after.

First things first, though. Here are some things Pennsylvania residents should do before filing for divorce.

  1. Think it through. Is this really what you want? Remember that divorce is stressful, causes a change of lifestyle and is life-changing in every sense.
  2. Do your research. Check out Pennsylvania laws regarding things such as the amount of time you need to be separated before filing for divorce and such.
  3. Set your goals, both financially and personally, for your future. You have to think about how your life will change.
  4. Organize your paperwork. Have bank statements, tax returns and other financial documents handy. While you’re at it, make a budget for after your divorce. This budget will help you decide if you can afford to stay in your marital home and what expenses you can handle each month.
  5. Close joint credit cards. You don’t want your soon-to-be ex to run up bills that you’ll be jointly responsible for paying.
  6. Get a copy of your credit report.
  7. Think about what is best for your children. What kind of custody arrangement will work for all the parties involved?
  8. Assemble a team to work with. You might need an accountant to help you. A therapist could help you sort through your thoughts; check to see if your insurance covers it. And you will need a Pennsylvania attorney well-versed in divorce and family law to guide you through the process.

These are just a few of the things that can help you prepare and plan for a divorce. If you decide to move forward with the process, an attorney can help you learn more about what to expect.