There’s nothing simple about the divorce process. Furthermore, there’s no handbook for you to follow. To a certain degree, you have to deal with the details as they come to you.

However, there are general steps that anyone in this position can take to put themselves on the right track. Here are three to keep in mind:

Collect what you need: This includes, but is not limited to, pay stubs, bank account statements, mortgage statements, retirement account statements and a copy of your prenuptial agreement (if you have one). You’re going to need these documents, among others, so you might as well collect them early on.

Create an asset and debt checklist: This guides you as you negotiate through the property and debt division process, which has the potential to be a source of conflict between you and your spouse. Include all assets and liabilities — even those that don’t appear to matter.

Help your children: You’re not the only one going through a difficult time in your life. Your children are in the same boat as you. Explain what’s happening, answer their questions and provide them with comfort. If you delay in doing so, it could lead to more trauma for them.

There’s no right or wrong way to prepare for divorce, but there are steps you can take to ease the tension and position yourself for success. When you put in enough time upfront, it’s easier to move through the process in an efficient manner. When that happens, you’ll feel better about protecting your legal rights and building the future you’re dreaming of.