Regardless of whose decision it was, getting a divorce is never easy. It can take its toll on a person in many ways; financially, mentally, and emotionally. Even in cases where it is the best decision possible, divorce is an incredibly stressful time. Being prepared for the emotional, financial and mental turmoil to come can help make the process a bit easier for all parties involved. Here are five ways to prepare for the divorce process:

Arm Yourself With Knowledge

Dividing a house, bank accounts, and detangling your lives from one another is a very complicated process. The best place to start is to get educated on your state’s laws and regulations regarding family or matrimonial law. Each party should be sure to hire a specialized attorney who will look out for that party’s interests. Having a bit of knowledge about the process ahead of time can help make you feel more comfortable with the process, can save on legal fees, and will help you to be certain that your attorney is indeed working for you.

Consider Your Finances

Even though divorce laws vary from state to state, your lawyer will need to know about your financial situation. Get copies of all important financial documents, including bank statements, retirement accounts, and information on any debts acquired over the course of the marriage. This includes both personal and joint accounts.

Don’t Get Petty

Keep in mind that the end of the marriage is the best for all parties involved, and don’t resort to petty tactics. Keep your social media posts free of drama, and focus on moving past the negative relationship and onto something more positive. This is especially important if there are children involved – always behave in a way that can serve as an example to them.

Practice Self-Care

Even in cases where it was your decision to leave the marriage, it can be an emotionally exhausting experience. Take the time to ensure that you’re looking out for yourself. Consider hiring a therapist to speak with about the divorce, in order to prevent the build up of negative and unhealthy emotions.

Communicate With Your Children

It’s important to speak with your children about the divorce, but to ensure that they always know it’s never their fault. Children often feel responsible or unloved when couples divorce, and dispelling those beliefs is crucial. Never speak negatively about the other parent in front of the children, but let them know, in an age appropriate way, that their parents will no longer be together. Remind them that no matter what happens, they will always be loved.

Take a look at this handy Divorce Preparation infographic to help you navigate your way through this emotionally trying experience.