Spouses who decide to end their marriage in Michigan may not want to think about all that it involves, but for a smoother and less stressful process, it is important to prepare. Among asset and debt division, living situations, child custody and support, there are many major decisions that the couple needs to make. Organization and hiring professional help are good places to start.

One of the first decisions to make is whether to go through litigation or mediation. According to FindLaw, if both sides mainly agree on big issues, and they are able to communicate, an uncontested divorce is often a better option. Even couples who do not completely agree on everything but are willing to talk and negotiate may find that mediation is a good option over court proceedings.

Whether preparing for a court battle or for divorce mediation, Forbes discusses that organizing everything at the beginning can speed up the process, ease some stress and may even allow for better results. The first thing is to take note of the couple’s and each of the spouse’s assets, debts, banking accounts, retirement accounts and investments. Gather and organize all associated documents, policies and account statements.

It is also helpful to categorize everything in terms of marital or separate property/debt. If the couple has a prenuptial agreement, this helps determine who gets what, but for those who do not have one, getting everything organized is extremely important to help save time and make sure there is a fair division of assets and debt.