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What Are the Advantages of Being the First to File for Divorce?

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A spouse who files first for divorce can experience several legal and financial advantages, making the process go smoother for him or her. Here are some of the strategic benefits that can come with filing for a divorce before the other spouse.

More Control

Divorce typically happens when there are financial and emotional struggles in a marriage. Being the first to file for divorce may help a spouse feel more in control over his or her life, which can ultimately make it easier to draw boundaries in ending a relationship.

Jurisdiction Decision

The spouse who files for divorce first is allowed to make the choice regarding jurisdiction, which can be crucial if the spouses have already separated and are currently living in two different locations. Spouses can file for divorce in the counties or states where they live, which can help prevent extensive traveling or encountering less favorable local rules regarding divorce actions.

Evidence Presented First

Spouses who are the first to file for divorce also typically are the first to have their evidence presented at trial. The spouse who files first is also often allowed to rebut the presentation the other spouse makes.

Preservation of Assets

The person who files for a divorce action first also has the element of surprise in his or her favor.  Once the divorce is filed, any unnecessary spending may be considered dissipation and the spending spouse may be required to reimburse the marital estate.  Therefore, once a divorce is filed, it often prevents the other spouse from unnecessary or excessive spending since that spouse will likely be awarded that debt or have to pay the other spouse back.

Avoiding Dramatic Changes

If children are involved in the divorce process, the parent who is the first to file for a divorce can simultaneously file a motion to maintain the status quo regarding the children’s daily schedule, residence, and parenting responsibilities until the court makes a final decision. This makes sure that the other spouse is unable to make any immediate changes to children’s lives that may not be favorable. However, the court will eventually determine the status quo in the case.

Consulting with divorce lawyers may reveal additional benefits of filing for divorce first and can help make the process even easier.

Uncontested divorce lawyer Denise Erlich is passionate about helping divorcing couples in the greater Chicagoland area transition to their new life as seamlessly as possible. Ms. Erlich patiently guides her clients through every step of the divorce process and provides clients with candid advice about their case and legal options, so they can make informed decisions about their future.