The last straw to break the camel’s break, or the decision to finally file for divorce, may be made in the heat of the moment. However, that doesn’t mean that you should come unprepared to your first meeting with a divorce attorney.

In fact, a few advance preparations, involving advance thinking about certain issues and gathering a few legal or financial documents, can make the process of a divorce go much more smoothly. In the case of children, a parent that comes prepared to discuss the practical aspects of raising a child — such as support, health and dental insurance, custody and visitation — will be much better situated to prepare a divorce strategy.

For property division strategies, gathering supporting documentation can jumpstart the discussion. Start by preparing a monthly budget of income, expenses and other forms of payment. Next, attempt to gather documents in support of each of those line itemizations. Examples may include credit card, car loan and mortgage statements; tax returns from the past three to five years; statements from bank accounts, securities or retirement accounts; recent wage statements from you and your spouse; and insurance records.

Finally, it is important to include a search for any legal documents that could impact a divorce. A prenuptial agreement certainly tops the list, but any estate planning documents will also need to be updated. In addition, it can be helpful to prepare a list of any items acquired by inheritance or owned prior to the marriage. In our experience as a divorce law firm, we have observed that marital property discussions can be a hot topic in divorces. However, gathering written evidence will make it easier to apply Maryland’s equitable distribution statute.

Source: FindLaw, ” Checklist: Issues To Discuss With Your Divorce Attorney,” copyright 2015, Thomson Reuters