Everyone makes mistakes — but making one in the middle of your divorce can cost you for a long time into the future.

Fortunately, there are plenty of people who’ve been down this road before you and they’ve hit the major stumbling blocks before — which means you get to learn from their mistakes.

Here are 3 divorce mistakes you don’t need to make:

1. Not having a plan.

Do you have a budget ready for post-divorce life? If you haven’t checked the housing market in a while, you don’t really know what kind of money you’ll need to set up a new home somewhere else. If you don’t know your credit score, you could be unpleasantly surprised when you try to find a place to live. If you don’t know how much a divorce attorney costs in your area, you can’t plan to pay for one. All of these things can be huge stumbling blocks, so start making an exit plan and pulling together all the things you’ll need to make it work.

2. Being disorganized.

The time to pull all the financial paperwork together and make copies of tax returns, pay stubs, insurance documents, retirement funds and property deeds is before you announce that you want a divorce. Get a file together and start making copies of anything you want to take to your attorney. You have no way of knowing what might conveniently disappear once your spouse is aware that you’re leaving. The more assets you and your spouse have, the more important this may become later.

3. Going out in a blaze.

Unless you feel physically unsafe around your spouse, divorce is a subject best approached when you’re cool and calm. Rehearse what you need to say and be ready to deal with what comes. If you expect your spouse to try pleading with you for another chance, decide in advance how you’re going to handle the situation. Make sure that you have a backup plan in case things get too intense and a bag packed in case you need to go elsewhere for the night.

Ultimately, the more you educate yourself about the process of divorce, the more prepared you’ll be — and the less likely you’ll make a serious mistake in the process. For more information on how to plan a successful divorce, talk to an attorney today.

Source: wevorce.com, “Beginning Checklist: Planning to File for Divorce,” accessed July 28, 2017