When a married couple divorces, the one who initiates the divorce proceedings has several advantages over their partner. The advantages may be psychological, financial, or even legal. Here are three legal advantages you may enjoy by being the first to file for divorce:
Choice of Jurisdiction
If you live in different states, then you can both file for divorce in your respective states. You just need to satisfy your state's residency requirements. The divorce proceedings will continue in the jurisdiction of the spouse who files first.
The location of your divorce has a great impact on divorce process or outcome since states have different divorce rules. For example, a few states recognize fault divorces, which may benefit "innocent" spouses. You may, for example, apply for a fault divorce and (if you can prove the fault) walk away with a larger portion of your marital property.
Chance to Withdraw the Petition
It is easier for the spouse who filed for divorce to stop the process than it is for their spouse. If you initiated the proceedings and changed your mind shortly afterward, you can go to court and withdraw the petition. Each state has its own set of procedures to follow, but it usually involves completing and filing a document at the court where you submitted your petition.
However, you have no such luck if you did not initiate the divorce proceedings. In that case, all you can do is to contest the elements in your partner's petition, such as property and debt settlement.
Chance to Control the Timing
Finally, deciding to act, rather than waiting for your spouse to do it, may allow you to time your divorce to your benefit. Timing has a great effect on different aspects of divorce. For example, in most states, the assets you acquire after filing for divorce are your separate property, not marital property, which means you get to keep them during asset division.
However, even if you decided a long time ago to divorce your spouse, but you haven't submitted the relevant petition, anything you earn will be divided between you since it is considered marital property. Therefore, taking the initiative may help you time your divorce to help you protect your assets.
Therefore, if you have made up your mind to divorce your partner, it's best to consult an attorney and be the first to file the divorce petition. However, you aren't doomed if your spouse beats you to the punch. Just react fast by consulting a lawyer to help you reply to the divorce petition.
For more information, contact a local firm like McKone & Unruh.Share
10 May 2016
Although I am far from perfect, I have focused on abiding by the local laws for the vast majority of my life. Unfortunately, about five years ago, I realized that I was being accused of a crime that I didn't commit. I thought about letting the trial run its course, but then I realized that fighting would be important to ensure my future. I teamed up with a great lawyer, and things became much easier overnight. My legal counsel told me what to do and what to avoid, and he was able to prove the facts in a court of law. This blog is all about choosing to fight charges.