When trouble arises in a marriage, it can fester for a long time as a variety of solutions are tried out. Couples may try counseling, spend more quality time together or do nothing and hope circumstances change with time. Typically, there comes a time when both spouses know the end of the marriage is near and each one is simultaneously considering divorce.
If you believe you are at this point, you may want to file right away and not wait around to see if your spouse will get to it first. Filing for divorce should be taken seriously. Filing first should not be done for spite or to send a message of frustration. If you are ready for divorce, there are advantages to filing first.
You can plan and assemble what you need in advance
Take your time to find the right team of experts and start to put your plan into place. If your spouse files first, you have 30 days to respond to the order. Filing first means you don't have to scramble to find representation and get affairs in order under a time limit.
You have time to gather all necessary documents
It is critical to locate all relevant legal and financial information. This includes bank statements, tax returns, insurance policies, your will, retirement accounts, real estate documents, and vehicle registration. It takes time to secure these documents, filing first gives you the opportunity to get them organized and put in a secure location.
Be emotionally ready
Divorce can be a disruption to your life, especially if it comes as a surprise to you. Based on how you adjust to change, you can be in different emotional states. By filing first, you can find family, friends or a therapist for support to ease into the process.
You get to choose where the case will be heard
Divorces are usually decided within the jurisdiction they are filed. If you are separated and live in different cities or different states, it would be beneficial to investigate legal implications on filing in different venues.
It can bring relief faster
If the marriage has become very rocky and unstable or your spouse has moved out leaving you with the bills, filing first will get the ball rolling to get these resolved. More importantly, if there are children involved and your spouse refuses to let you see them, you will want to begin the divorce so you can get a child custody plan in place.
When you make the decision to file for divorce, there is no reason to hesitate as there can be advantages to filing first. You may also find that taking this first step is a way to gain control over a decision you have been struggling with.