Once you know what you have, the next step is to figure out what you want to do with it.

This process can sometimes be difficult. You’ll need to spend considerable time trying to determine what’s truly important to you, and what you can live without. Making lists here will help as well.

Just like in traditional negotiations, you’ll need to figure out your range of acceptable terms—from everything you hope to get and the things you absolutely will not walk away without. In between those two extremes are variables that can shift during the negotiations. Decide on your bottom-line goals.

If you have children, make sure you keep the parental access decisions separate from the financial decisions, and do not use one to influence your position on the other. People sometimes try to use custody or visitation wants in exchange for financial wants, whether or not it’s in the child’s best interest.

Also, draft your budget as it is now, and also a projection of what your budget will look like post-divorce. This will help you get a sense of your current financial picture and what you’ll need going forward.

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