If you've been thinking that it's time to file for divorce, it's important that you are proactive about protecting your assets first. With a little bit of advanced preparation, you can ensure that your personal assets are protected and the marital assets are fairly divided. Even if you expect your divorce to be uncontested, it's important that you're organized ad ready just in case. Here are a few tips to help you preserve your financial stability as you navigate divorce court.

Make Copies of Your Records

Gather copies of your bank statements, investment reports and other financial records. By making copies for yourself, you ensure that you have the documentation of the balances and activity in those accounts at the time that you left. Make sure that you include your mortgage records, stocks, retirement and credit card accounts. These documents will help your attorney to develop a clear picture of how to approach the asset division discussion.

Open Your Own Accounts

Before you leave, make an effort to open up your own bank accounts. This gives you somewhere to have your paychecks deposited and to keep your savings once you and your spouse are separated. Additionally, it starts the transition process as you make your way to financial independence.

Before you withdraw money from your joint accounts, though, you'll need to talk to your attorney. He or she can tell you how much you can legally withdraw, if any, when you leave. You may be able to take half of the money in the account, but the courts will likely prohibit any money transfers once you've filed the papers.

Deal With Inheritances

Inheritances and direct personal gifts usually default to the original intended recipient. These are considered to be individual assets, not products of the marriage. If you have acquired any family inheritances or gifts, take them with you when you leave and keep all of the documentation that shows your legal right to them, such as legal notices of inheritance or any correspondence about gifts. If possible, have the person who gave you the gift draft a letter confirming that you were the intended recipient. That should be enough documentation for the courts.

Even the most amicable of divorces can lead to a heated mess over financial division. With the tips presented here and a little bit of preparation with your attorney, you can ensure that your financial interests are protected while you wait for the final decree. For more information, bring your financial statement and divorce information to a divorce attorney who can check it out for you.