With the holidays fast approaching, the focus for many families in Massachusetts is on celebrating and spending time with loved ones. For this reason, couples who are talking about divorce often put off filing until January. Even if this is the case, it is a good idea to begin preparing both financially and emotionally so things are not as stressful when filing occurs.

According to Live About, one can begin preparing financially early on, and a focus should be on protecting money. Ideally, couples should eliminate, or at least minimize, all joint debt and close the accounts. Each spouse should also open his or her own personal checking and savings accounts. Experts recommend waiting to file for divorce until there is enough money for all legal fees and living expenses for a minimum of three months.

Before filing, other steps to take include:

  • Protect, but do not destroy, valuables
  • Avoid new debt
  • Document all assets and money sources, including retirement accounts
  • Request credit report
  • Balance financial power
  • Ensure future earning potential

Thinking about, and going through, a divorce is stressful and can take an emotional toll. Psychology Today offers tips on how to emotionally prepare for this time. For many couples, the financial changes usually mean that there needs to be a reduction in lifestyle. People who can accept this have an easier and faster time recovering.

Going through a divorce can feel lonely and isolating. It helps to socialize regularly and ask for help. It is also important to grieve, which includes going through the stages of denial, anger, bargaining and acceptance.

Divorcing couples that are also parents have the additional challenge of dealing with the impact it will have on the kids. During the process, it is important that both parents be present with the kids and communicate openly about what is going on.