Divorce proceedings are difficult — especially when child custody and property disputes are thrown into the mix. That said, there are a variety of urgent factors that arise almost every divorce. You will, therefore, need to navigate the process both quickly and carefully; this usually begins with seeking proper qualified legal counsel, but in the meantime, it can never hurt to verse yourself in basic legal matters, potential missteps, and preemptive measures to mitigate potential fallout.

Here are a few bits of advice for the early stages of your divorce.

Consider the timing of divorce filing

Timing can be crucial in a divorce situation, as it can be beneficial to take charge on proceedings as soon as possible. This is not to say you need to outrace your spouse to court, but by filing for divorce first, you can give yourself more control over the whole process in terms of important document collection; record keeping, and general mental preparation for all subsequent developments. You may also be able to reduce deceptive action by your spouse — such as financial stashing and raiding of joint accounts — if the situation has potential to become hostile.

Maintain communication

Though it might seem difficult at first, do your best to establish and maintain a clear line of communication with your spouse. Transparency will only make the divorce process more fluid with regards to custody, property division, and various degrees of support.

Carefully assess custody situations

Get into a habit of accepting a custody dispute for what it is — all potential outcomes included; the sooner you do this, the sooner you will reduce the risk of exacerbating the situation in the future. If you were to, say, deliberately complicate custody or visitation agreements for your children, you may be perceived as disrespectful by the court and thus adversely affect your case.

Avoid major life changes

Depending on the details of your divorce, you may feel eager to start anew with romantic relationships and living situations. However, it is maybe best to avoid major changes — in either of these regards — throughout the divorce process.