The fact that your spouse wants a divorce is something you didn’t expect. You knew that you’d had a few arguments lately, but there were some deeper issues you didn’t realize they were concerned over. Today, you’re looking at your divorce paperwork and are at a loss.

The first thing you need to do is to talk to your attorney. If you don’t want to divorce, now is the time to approach your spouse and ask about marriage counseling or therapy. It’s a good time to talk about what you can do to make the situation better. If they are willing to try those steps to stay together, then you can put the divorce on hold.

Once you start the divorce, you can back out at any time, which is something many people don’t understand. Some people do change their minds as they start dividing property or talking to one another about leaving. In other cases, both spouses are just happy to get away from each other. Every case is different, but it’s worth investigating the reasoning for the divorce before you push forward.

If you do decide that a divorce is the right option, you will need to collect information for your attorney, such as your financial documents, images of your important assets and any other important paperwork you have.

Divorce might not be your preference, but if it seems right for your situation, your attorney will be there to help you. Take steps early on to start negotiating and to protect your assets, so you can walk away with the financial support and marital assets that you need.