Deciding to file for divorce is a large step for anyone, even if there have been long standing complications in the marriage. But if you have been contemplating the end of your marriage for a while, you may be wondering whether or not there is a benefit to being the first to serve and file divorce paperwork. While the court is certainly not going to favor one party over the other simply because they were the first to take action, it may in fact be beneficial for you to make the first move.

Being able to file first gives you several advantages, with the major advantage being the ability to prepare well in advance. If you feel that your spouse is not likely to file for divorce anytime soon, this will give you plenty of time to have your financial and legal documents in order and in a secure and private location.

You will also have the added benefit of knowing that your financial circumstances are likely to change, allowing you time to set aside extra money. This is especially important if you rely on your spouse financially, and whether or not you plan on hiring an attorney, divorces can be expensive. You may even want to apply for a credit card in your own name if you do not have one already, as it may be difficult to do so later.

Filing first will also allow you time to research experienced family law attorneys until you find the team that is best for you. Having an attorney on your side can be instrumental in ensuring that your assets and your rights are protected.

Source: Forbes, “What Are The Financial And Legal Advantages Of Being First To File For Divorce?” Jeff Landers, March 26, 2013