In our last blog, I was discussing the possible benefits to filing first in a divorce matter. While there are possible benefits, filing first in no way guarantees that things will go your way. However, with the help of an experienced divorce lawyer, you may have time to map out a legal strategy before your spouse even knows what is going on. An attorney can also advise you on how best to ensure that your spouse does not attempt to hide assets so that he or she does not have to list those assets during the process.
In addition, filing first may be beneficial to you if you and your spouse live in distant cities or states. Generally, divorces are decided in the jurisdiction in which they are filed. Filing first will help ensure that you do not have to travel far when going to court. More importantly, different jurisdictions have different rules on a variety of issues including divorce/legal separation, child support, child custody, spousal support, and property division. Consequently, the expected outcome of your case may vary widely depending on the jurisdiction in which you file.
While there may be financial and legal advantages to filing first, there is also often an emotional aspect that people take into consideration when filing. Many clients choose to file first so they can exert their independence, while others may feel they are “sticking one” to their spouse by filing the initial paperwork. Whatever your reasons may be, it is most important that you build a strong legal team to guide you through the process, while helping to secure your financial future and independence.
Source: Forbes, “What Are The Financial And Legal Advantages Of Being First To File For Divorce?” Jeff Landers, March 26, 2013