Being the first one to file for a divorce is always advantageous. Filing for divorce means one party will submit legal paperwork to the courts along with notifying the spouse. Being the first to file for the divorce will give you a leg up on your spouse and it provides the opportunity to make a positive first impression.
What Should You Consider Before Filing For Divorce?
There is nothing easy about going through a divorce, but it is important to consider these factors before filing:
A divorce will greatly affect the lives of your children. It’s vital to consider where your children will live and how they will be supported during and after the divorce. You must also strongly consider what type of role each spouse should have in the children’s lives moving forward.
Your financial situation includes everything from income, expenses all the way to future budgets. Undoubtedly, your financial situation will look quite different after a divorce. You must have a plan in place to show how you’ll be able to support yourself and your children.
Before filing legal paperwork, you must be convinced that divorce is the only option. This is a life-changing decision for more than just the two separating parties. If marriage counseling is simply not the answer, then it’s wise to begin the process of divorce.
What Are The Benefits Of Filing For Divorce First?
If you know you won’t be able to reconcile, filing first may provide you certain strategic advantages, such as:
Choice Of Location
The court’s location is entirely up to you. As long as the petitioner follows state and local restrictions about where a divorce can be filed, the petitioner gets to choose the jurisdiction (location) for the divorce procedures. To prevent either spouse from filing for divorce in a state or county that favors one spouse over the other, many states have a residency requirement in place. Before the court will hear the divorce petition in Michigan, for example, the filing spouse must have lived in the state for at least 180 days and in the filing county for at least 10 days. (Section 552.9 (2021) of the Michigan Comp. Laws).
If your spouse files first and lives 100 miles away, you’ll have to travel to their courtroom for any divorce-related matters, which will take longer and cost more money than if you filed first in the court nearest to you.
Speed Up The Divorce Process
The ability to direct the course of the divorce. In most cases, the spouse who applies for divorce has a greater say in how quickly the divorce is handled. You’ve started the procedure at your leisure by filing first, whereas your husband is obligated to respond according to the court’s schedule. While your spouse is preparing a response, you’ll have time to plan your next step.
The chance to make a positive first impression. The petitioner’s statement about the divorce grounds (reasons) is contained in the original divorce file. The court’s initial exposure to facts about the case will be the allegations in the petition—and if you file first, it’ll be up to your spouse to change the court’s first impression.
This is your first opportunity to place a temporary order. The spouse who files first may seek temporary orders from the court before alerting the other spouse of the initial divorce petition. These orders can limit what each spouse can do with marital finances or property, give protection for one spouse against the other, grant temporary child custody, or provide temporary spousal maintenance. Non-filing spouses will be able to respond to any requests for orders, but they must do so before or simultaneously with their petition answer.
Non-filing spouses are not eligible for temporary orders until they respond to the petition. Furthermore, in many courts, the petitioner will be the first spouse to present their case for trial. Being the first to speak at a trial isn’t always advantageous: it gives the other side time to hear your arguments and prepare a rebuttal.
Why Is It Best To File For Divorce First?
It goes without saying that the more you are prepared, the better chance you’ll have at negotiating the terms to your advantage. Of course, it is stressed that you have a solid plan in place and have considered all your options before filing the necessary paperwork. Being ahead of the curve will undoubtedly be an advantage when it comes to court proceedings.
Gathering Necessary Documentation
Being the first to plan for divorce gives you the best chance to choose your legal team and gather the information you will need. Necessary documentation includes proof of insurance, mortgage statements, bank, brokerage and retirement account statements, ownership titles and household bills. Once you have gathered the information, store the documents in a safe and secure place.
Extra Time To Find Additional Support
There’s no doubt divorce can be a stressful process, but filing first gives you the advantage of time. If needed, find support through financial planners or even a therapist. When children are caught in the middle of this process, it’s always wise to find some emotional support for them, as well.
Bettering Your Financial Position
It can be beneficial to start saving money for this process ahead of time. Secure a line of credit to get you through the next few months. If you happen to open a new credit card, do so in your own name. Some spouses have tried to hide finances or assets when a divorce is coming. By speaking with an attorney early in the process, you can receive help strategizing ways to prevent yourself from becoming a victim, financially. Keep in mind that there are legal consequences to hiding assets.
Should I Hire An Attorney For My Divorce?
In some cases, both spouses can come together and make difficult divorce-related decisions without the need for an attorney or a court appearance. If you know you won’t be able to work things out with your husband, there’s no need to employ an attorney. You may, however, choose to hire an attorney to help you negotiate with your spouse or his or her counsel.
You can still obtain legal guidance if you decide to manage your divorce on your own. During a consultation, an attorney can help you determine if filing first would be beneficial in your case.
Source: “Does It Matter Who Files For Divorce First” Men’s & Fathers’ Rights https://mensrightsdivorcelaw.com/blog/does-it-matter-who-files-divorce-first/
Need Divorce Attorneys In Scottsdale?
The High Desert Family Law Group should be your first choice when you need the best divorce lawyer in Scottsdale or Phoenix, Arizona. Our experienced family law attorneys will work with you to obtain the best possible outcome in your situation. Proven trial lawyers in family court, you can trust the firm to represent you fully so you can get on with your life. Call today for your initial consultation.