If you’re considering a divorce, you’re not alone. Depending upon with whom you speak, divorce rates in Texas are somewhere between 41 percent and 51 percent. Divorce is never pleasant, but there are some basic steps that you can take and a few things to keep in mind to hopefully make the process a bit easier for you.

When you’ve decided to file for divorce you should immediately schedule a consultation with an experienced divorce attorney. Many divorce lawyers will offer a complimentary consultation so that you can get to know them before committing to working with a specific lawyer. You can do research on the Internet easily enough, but a face-to-face consultation with a divorce lawyer will answer your questions much more comprehensively. Each divorce has its own particulars, and it’s important to walk a lawyer through these details so that you both know exactly what you’re dealing with as you start the process of filing for divorce.

Once you’ve scheduled your initial consultation, go to the meeting prepared. Bring as much information to your divorce lawyer about your assets, income and debts. This includes real estate, bank accounts, investment and retirement accounts, cars, valuables such as jewelry and anything else that you think may be of note. Bring information on the money you owe on credit cards, mortgages, and any outstanding loans that you may have. Bring tax returns and any other information that you think will be useful to the divorce lawyer while assessing your situation. Bring information on your income as well.

Err on the side of having too much information when you prepare for your initial consultation. Every bit of information will help the lawyer know what your situation involves. And don’t feel pressured to hire that particular divorce lawyer if you don’t feel comfortable after your first consultation. You want to be sure you’ve picked the right person to help you get through your divorce in the least messy manner possible.

Here’s a video on a few tips to avoid a messy divorce. Having a lawyer certainly is an important step in that process.