Once the decision has been made to go forward with a divorce, the best thing you can do is focus on ensuring that everything ends as cleanly as possible. This means minimizing conflicts over finances, property, and business interests by creating a clear separation of ownership. It might cost you some time and money, but the peace of mind it buys you will be more than worth it.
When breaking ties to a spouse, the easiest step should also be the first one. Start by opening a bank account in your own name, and begin depositing paychecks into that account instead of any joint accounts you may hold. If a joint account exists, don't touch the contents without making a record of the transaction, consulting your divorce attorney, and advising your spouse of the amount that you're withdrawing.
Jointly held financial accounts of any kind, whether simple checking accounts or mutual funds, should go untouched until the divorce is finalized. Make sure that any finances that you have your name on are fully disclosed in all court documents to avoid even the appearance of impropriety. This should include, but isn't limited to, 401k accounts, stock ownership, trading accounts, and any substantial debts.
Whether it comes in the form of your marital residence, or simply a bare patch of ground outside city limits, any property purchased during your marriage is fair game in divorce court. Some states have held that even property purchased prior to the marriage which required upkeep expenses during the marriage can be included as a marital asset.
The best solution is to simply agree to sell off these properties and split the proceeds, but that may not be something you're willing to do.
Concessions will need to be made in the case of settling property ownership, so be ready to bargain, and make sure to do so through your attorney. In some situations, you may end up needing to buy back your spouse's half of the ownership, especially in the case of developed properties or the marital residence itself. If you're set on keeping the ownership of any real estate, get it appraised and be prepared to pay half or more of the appraised equity value of the property.
Nothing about the divorce process is clean or pleasant. However, there are measures you can take to ensure that all ties are cut once the ink is dry. For more information, contact a divorce attorney in your area.