When a couple realizes that they are headed toward a divorce, it may take years before someone actually goes to a courthouse and files the petition to dissolve the marriage.
But in some instances, being the first person to file for a divorce may offer you some real advantages, but can also have some drawbacks.
Filing First For a Divorce Gives You the Chance To Gather All Relevant Documents
One of the biggest advantages of filing first is that it gives you the chance to obtain all the relevant financial documents needed in a divorce.
This includes bank statements, tax returns, insurance information, real estate papers, and estate planning documents, such as a will.
By controlling when the divorce petition is filed, you can gather these documents without worrying about whether your soon-to-be ex-spouse will give you access to them after he or she is served with the divorce petition.
Filing First Gives You Choice of Jurisdiction
If you and your spouse are separated but have not filed for a divorce, filing first gives you the choice of jurisdiction for the divorce.
That could be beneficial if you live in a different county and you want to limit your travel to save time and money.
Filing First Discourages the Other Person From Hiding Assets
Filing first for a divorce can also help prevent your partner from trying to hide assets in the upcoming divorce.
That’s because the moment you file the petition, the court issues a restraining order on all financial resources in the marriage, which is done to discourage you or your spouse from activities – such as emptying a bank account or selling stocks and bonds.
Filing First Lets You Present Evidence First
When you are the first to file for a divorce, the court allows you to present your evidence and documentation first.
That can help steer the divorce in a direction that you have established, and put your soon-to-be former spouse on the defensive.
However, this does bring up one drawback to filing first, and that is the fact that by presenting your case first, you give the other side the opportunity to know the full details of your case, which allows them to change strategy to counteract your claims.
Divorce Is a Life-Changing Event
Although being the first person to file for a divorce can provide you with some real benefits, the truth is that divorces can be contentious, difficult and time-consuming. That is why you must have an experienced family lawyer working on your behalf. Whether you need counseling during a mediation session, or you are struggling with your soon-to-be ex about child visitation, a qualified divorce attorney such as the team at the Joubert Law Firm can steer you in the right direction. Please call us today at 225-761-3822 for a free consultation about your case.