Does It Matter Who Files for Divorce First?

January 10, 2020

Though being served divorce papers can come as a surprise in some cases, it is more common that couples will sense the impending demise of their marriage. There are several steps that must be taken to file the necessary paperwork that starts the legal process of divorce.

When considering divorce, some people wonder if it matters who files first. Lawyers and financial experts tend to agree that it does matter in most cases. For several logistical and legal reasons, it can be beneficial to be the first one to file the paperwork. Sometimes couples will file jointly; but, there is often doubt whether a spouse will handle this issue responsibly. This is especially important when underhanded tactics are concerned. It is important to consider some advantages of filing first.

Logistical Benefits

Finding an experienced divorce lawyer is a good first step. Finding a lawyer is best without the pressure of fitting the legal process into an unexpected timeline. It is important to consider several lawyers, such as a financial analyst, who specializes in divorce cases. Establishing your finances should be done immediately. It is important to review the costs that will be associated with your divorce. If you are leaving a controlling marriage, you may need time to secure money. It is vital to be able to support yourself through the divorce process and to be able to pay sufficient legal representation.

A spouse who knows the timeline of the divorce has more opportunity to assemble all the necessary legal and financial paperwork. Paperwork that shows bank statements, insurance policies, and wills are valuable items in a divorce. This is crucial for those who suspect that their spouse will attempt to hide assets during the divorce process.

Some jurisdictions require divorcing couples to adhere to an automatic temporary restraining order (ATRO). This freezes the ability to make changes to joint accounts and properties. Spouses are also unable to make changes on investments, insurance plans, or retirement policies. It is best to be financial ready before an ATRO takes place.

Legal Benefits

By filing first, you chose where the divorce will take place. Several choices may be applicable for separated spouses who live in different states or couples who have two residences. If you file fist, you can consider how laws in different states might affect issues like child custody or division of property. If you file first, you will be granted the first argument at your divorce trial, which can set the tone for the entire process.

Moorestown Divorce Attorneys at Stockton Family Law Represent Spouses Going Through a Divorce

If you are filing for divorce, it is important to speak to an experienced attorney. Our dedicated Moorestown divorce attorneys at Stockton Family Law will help you obtain the most ideal divorce settlement and guide you through the legal process. Contact us online or call us at 856-412-5052 for a free consultation. Located in Moorestown, New Jersey, we also assist clients in Mount Laurel, Burlington County, Camden County, and throughout South Jersey.