The simulation of the propagation of divergent beams using Fourier-based angular spectrum techniques can pose challenges for ensuring correct sampling in the spatial and reciprocal domains. This challenge can be compounded by the presence of diffracting objects, as is often the case. Here, I give details of a method for robustly simulating the propagation of beams with divergent wavefronts in a coordinate system where the wavefronts become planar. I also show how diffracting objects can be simulated, while guaranteeing that correct sampling is maintained. These two advances allow for numerically efficient and accurate simulations of divergent beams propagating through diffracting structures using the multi-slice approximation. The sampling requirements and numerical implementation are discussed in detail, and I have made the computer code freely available.