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Filing for divorce this month in Arizona? You are not alone.

Phoenix area residents who are beginning the divorce process are among many others throughout the country who are going through similar proceedings this spring. According to numerous news reports, March is the most popular month for divorce.

Just why this is has yet to be determined. Divorce filings tend to increase shortly after the holidays, and really spike in March. Some people think this may have to do with couples coming to a realization over the holidays that it is time to end their marriages, and they wait to begin the process until the hustle and bustle of the season is behind them.

Others say that couples simply prefer to postpone the inevitable over the holiday season, or time things out for tax purposes--your marital status as of Dec. 31 determines whether you file an individual or joint tax return.

One study has found that extra-marital affairs happen most often over the holidays, sparking divorce filings after the New Year. Other researchers maintain that it is the sentiment of springtime and fresh new beginnings that make March an ideal time to end one chapter and begin another.

Whatever the reason, those who are preparing for divorce--especially if it is a high asset divorce--have several tasks in front of them. It is important to speak with your family law counsel about your own case to determine what steps to take, but here are a few general guidelines for those beginning the process.

1. Collect financial documents: Gather year-end statements and documents for bank, credit and brokerage accounts. Make copies of these and keep them in a safe place.

2. Review your credit report: Request a copy of your credit report and monitor it for odd activity. This ensures your spouse is not squandering away any assets.

3. Open new accounts: It can be important to have financial accounts in your own name in order to establish credit. It may be wise to open these at a bank other than where your joint accounts are held.

4. Put together your divorce team: Research and interview divorce professionals to find reputable and experienced legal and financial counsel.

Source: NPR, "Why most people get divorced in March," Evan Hoover, March 6, 2012

Source: Forbes, "End-of-the-year Checklist for Divorcing Women," Jeff Landers, Dec. 6, 2012

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