June 11, 2014 By Paul Wallin

You and your spouse may be going through some turmoil in your marriage. Lack of communication, disagreements on parenting, and fights over trivial matters are all at the center of this turmoil. At what point does divorce cross your mind?

Divorce decree
Filing for divorce first can have several advantages

Many individuals going through a divorce describe being completely caught off guard by their spouses who filed for divorce. You may not have felt that the issues plaguing your marriage were enough to cause a divorce. Whatever the case may be, if you are completely shocked by your spouse’s initiation of the divorce, he or she may have an advantage.

Racing to divorce your husband or wife first should never be the goal. Of course, it is always crucial that you try to work things out with your spouse through marriage counseling and other measures. However, there are some advantages to filing first, if the marriage has truly run its course.

1. You and your divorce attorney can be well prepared in advance.

If you are the first to file for divorce then you have probably already begun the process of lining up your options. In order to reach the best possible legal outcome in your divorce, you will need to have done your research to find the most experienced and knowledgeable family law attorney.

If your divorce is financially complex, you may also look to hire a financial analyst. By making the decision to divorce first, you can head into the court proceedings with confidence.

2. You can have all of the necessary documentation ready before the divorce begins.

Having all of the relevant legal and financial documents in your possession is critical to your case. These documents include:

• Bank and brokerage statements;
• Tax returns;
• Insurance policies;
• Wills and trusts;
• Retirement account statements;
• Real estate records; and
• Vehicle registrations.

Gathering all of these documents in preparation for your divorce can take a considerable amount of time. If you file for divorce first, it means you have also located and organized all of these very important papers beforehand.

3. You can make sure that you have access to funds and credit cards before the divorce.

If you are the first to realize that divorce is in your immediate future, then you can already begin setting aside money for your future expenses. This means securing the funds to hire your divorce attorney, as well as to live independently. Going through a divorce is not only time-consuming, but it turns out to be quite expensive. Making sure you have the funds and credit cards to begin the process is the first important step.

4. Filing first may keep your spouse from hiding assets.

In a community property state such as California, it is understood that any assets acquired during the marriage are equally divided between the spouses in a divorce settlement. This can understandably cause some conflict. As a result, if you file for divorce first you can avoid a situation wherein your spouse hides some of these assets prior to the divorce.

5. Filing for divorce first lets you choose where the divorce proceedings will be held.

If you and your spouse are already living far apart from each other, filing for divorce first can allow you to choose the venue of the trial. This means you can be close to the trial and in a convenient location for your legal team.

More importantly, laws vary a great amount from state to state regarding issues such as division of marital assets and child custody. You want to give yourself the opportunity to file in a jurisdiction that is most beneficial to you. If you know your state’s practices regarding these issues, then filing in your jurisdiction is a key advantage of initiating the divorce.

6. You can avoid falling victim to “conflicting out”.

“Conflicting out” is a trick that many divorcing spouses use to make the opposing side’s life as difficult as possible. This is when your soon-to-be ex meets with all of the best possible attorneys in your area for quick consultations. By the time you get around to trying to hire them, they are unable to help you because they have an attorney-client privilege with your spouse.

7. By filing first, you may also be the first to present your case at trial.

There are always pros and cons to presenting your case first or second. By presenting first, you avoid the potential emotional distraction of feeling like the spouse. However, by waiting to present your case second, you can also have the advantage of hearing your spouse’s strategy and adjusting your presentation accordingly.

8. You can give yourself a financial head start by filing for divorce first.

If you know that your spouse is expecting a raise or a bonus in the near future, it will benefit you to wait until that is paid out before filing. If you seek advice early on from a skilled attorney, you can find out exactly what financial pros and cons exist depending on when you initiate the divorce. For example, if you are in a long-term marriage, it benefits you financially to wait until the 10-year mark to file for divorce, so that you can get more of your spouse’s social security.

9. Preserving the status quo.

If children are involved in the divorce, you can file a motion seeking the preservation of status quo by filing first. This is a court order that allows your children to maintain their residence and daily schedule until further instruction from the court. Doing this will prevent your spouse from making any changes to your children’s lives that are not in their best interest.

Call the Divorce Lawyers at Wallin & Klarich Today

Being the first to file for divorce gives you many advantages in your pending family law case. Understanding all of these advantages and utilizing them in court is your knowledgeable attorney’s job. The attorneys at Wallin and Klarich have been successfully helping our clients achieve the best possible legal outcome in their divorces for over 30 years.

With offices located in Orange County, San Bernardino, Los Angeles, Torrance, Riverside, West Covina, Victorville, Ventura, San Diego and Sherman Oaks, one of our skilled attorneys is available to help you no matter where you work or live.

Call us today at (888) 749-7428 for a free phone consultation. We will get through this together.

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