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Orange County Family Law Attorney

5 Advantages to Being the First to File for Divorce

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Many people who go through divorce look back at a later time and recount their shock or surprise. They had no idea that their spouse was considering divorce until they filed. Others look back and see a long history of dissatisfaction, contention, or even abuse that led to the eventual end of the relationship. Still, others look back and understand issues in their marriage, but none that they felt would constitute filing for divorce. Whatever the case may, if you are caught completely off guard by your spouse filing for divorce, they may have an advantage.

No one is recommending that it should become a race to divorce. The best-case scenario is that you work things out with your spouse through marriage counseling or other proactive measures. But if the marriage has indeed run its course and divorce is going to happen, there are advantages to filing first:

  1. Time to Create a Game Plan: If you are the first to file for divorce, you and your attorney can prepare in advance. Starting with an experienced and knowledgeable family law attorney is essential. Filing first typically means having plenty of time to line up your options, do your research and strategize for the best possible outcome.
  2. Gathering Documentation: Another vital element of preparing for the best possible outcome in a divorce is gathering the relevant legal and financial documents that are critical to a case. These documents typically include bank statements, brokerage statements, tax returns, insurance policies, wills and trusts, retirement account statements, real estate records, vehicle registrations, etc. Getting all the documents together can take some time. Filing for divorce first means you have the time to locate and organize these documents before the divorce process is in motion.
  3. You Can Arrange Access to Funding: When you are the first to file, you are the first to realize you need to set aside funds to cover future expenses related to the divorce and preparing for life after divorce. For example, you can secure the money to retain an attorney or provide deposits to set up a separate household, etc.
  4. Avoid the Fear of Your Spouse Hiding Assets: Filing first does not eliminate the possibility that your spouse could hide assets during the divorce, but it decreases their opportunity.
  5. Preserve the Status Quo: When there are children involved, filing first can allow you to file a motion seeking to preserve the status quo. Successfully trying to preserve the status quo means a court order would allow the children to maintain their residence and daily schedule until the court provides further instruction. Preserving the status quo can be a great help in preventing your spouse from immediately attempting to make changes to the lives of the children that may not be in their best interest.

If you need to discuss filing for a California divorce or the best time to file for a California divorce, please get in touch with one of the experienced California divorce attorneys at The Maggio Law Firm today.



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