Editors' pick: Originally published Jan. 27.
There's no other way to say it.
It's the second most stressful life event, after the death of your spouse, according to the American Institute of Stress.
So if you're thinking about getting divorced, preparing yourself financially and emotionally can help make the process a little less traumatic.
And while there is always drama, know this: you don't get more money, because your spouse has an affinity for young blondes. A judge generally can care less. It's about money and your state's laws.
Consider this process one big financial transaction in which you attempt to split your lives evenly.
So find a support system to work through the drama.
And then get serious.
Think About Your Tax Situation
Your marital status on December 31 determines how you file your tax return.
So if you get divorced on December 20, you are considered single (or head of household) for the entire year. That may make a difference in your planning.
"You may need to change your income tax withholding on your paycheck from married filing joint to single," says Tracy Stewart, a CPA, whose practice specializes in divorce. So think that through.
While there are no tax implications to child support, alimony is taxable to the receiver. The person paying it will get a deduction for it. So again, consider this in your planning.
And check out IRS Publication 504: Divorced or Separated Individuals for more details.
Gather ALL of Financial Records