People don’t get married because they imagine they will eventually get divorced. Marriage is usually the result of wanting to spend the rest of your life with someone. Unfortunately, relationships and the people in them change, and not always for the better.

You and your spouse may have slowly grown apart in recent years, especially if your children have left the home. You may have discovered an affair, or your spouse may have developed a very dangerous habit, like gambling or using drugs. When you can’t imagine staying in your marriage anymore, it’s time to take action to protect yourself.

Filing for divorce is not an admission of responsibility for the failure of your marriage. In fact, being the one to file for divorce when you know that your marriage won’t work out is the responsible thing to do. It could even put you in a better position as the divorce proceeds.

You can get the documents you need before your spouse hides or changes them

Divorce can make people very emotional, resulting in uncharacteristically unethical behavior in someone who is otherwise a good person. Some people will go so far as altering financial records or destroying them so that their spouse doesn’t know about certain assets or income.

Getting copies of pertinent records while you still have full access as a spouse will help avoid these issues which could complicate your divorce.

You have time to mentally and emotionally prepare

If you wait to get served with paperwork, you may not have adequate social safety nets in place. It can be difficult to even mentally adjust to the idea of divorce quickly, which could mean days or weeks of inaction when you first find out.

When you make the decision to file, you take control of the process and can potentially plan for the best timing possible. You can file only once you have things handled in a way that makes you feel secure and ready to move on with your life.

You can set yourself up for success

From where you live during divorce proceedings to how you access marital resources after separating, there are many aspects of divorce that can impact the outcome. Getting advice based on your preferred results now can improve your chances of setting yourself up for future success with the right actions during the divorce.