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Does it matter who files for divorce first?

Deciding to file for divorce is never easy. Divorce is a major step that will have an impact on your life. Once you have determined that divorce is your best course of action, you should consult with an experienced divorce attorney right away. There are several crucial advantages to filing for divorce before your spouse. As such, you should not delay in filing when you have made a definite decision to seek a divorce.

Advantages of Filing First

By filing for divorce first, you will receive some important advantages, including:

  1. Assembling your legal team: Before you file, you will need to select your divorce team. Your divorce attorney will be one of the most important parties to your divorce. Your divorce attorney and any other experts your attorney brings in to the fold will advocate for your legal rights. You have the advantage when you file first because you will have an already assembled strong divorce team.

  2. Choice of jurisdiction: You will generally file for divorce in the state and county in which you and your spouse live. However, at times, you may live in a different area than your spouse. In this scenario, the party filing first will typically have the right to decide in which jurisdiction the divorce will occur. Your choice of jurisdiction could reduce your litigation expenses and positively influence your divorce outcome.

  3. Protecting your marital assets: When you file a petition for divorce, typically it will automatically freeze all marital assets. Alternatively, you can request an injunction along with the divorce petition. As such, by filing for divorce first, you can prevent your spouse from hiding assets or draw down the joint account.

  4. Coming in prepared: You have the advantage of being able to fully prepare for your divorce when you file first. You can gather all necessary documents and plan carefully with your divorce attorney as to what assets you will pursue in the divorce. You can further financially plan for the divorce by setting aside funds in preparation for the expenses to come.

Consult with a divorce attorney for more assistance with initiating your divorce action or responding to a divorce petition filed by your spouse. Your divorce attorney will advocate on your behalf, striving to achieve the best divorce outcome possible.