Maybe. More importantly though, it is advantageous to be the first to plan for divorce. Filing for divorce means submitting legal paperwork to the courts and notifying your spouse. Planning for divorce means developing a strategy for addressing the complex situation you are about to navigate.
Please Note: Our practice focuses on cases that occur in New Jersey.
Are there benefits to filing for divorce first?
Filing for divorce before your spouse allows you more control over the situation from the beginning and could provide some strategic options. Filing for divorce first does not give you any inherent rights over your spouse.
One benefit is that if the specific facts of your case warrant, you could have a choice of which county—and sometimes which state — to file the paperwork in. To be clear, you cannot just file in any ol’ location. Each state has different requirements you must meet to be eligible to file in that jurisdiction.
You also get to choose when to file, which then starts a clock on the process. If you are the first to file, then you have the opportunity to complete your due diligence without the burden of time constraints. Once the lawsuit begins, the court will set dates for hearings, discovery timelines, and deadlines for mediation before trial. By filing first, you will be in a better position to predict when these dates will happen. When you have a sense of the timeline, you can make certain preparations that surround financials and how other areas of your life are managed. You can be a step ahead when it comes to scheduling issues, whether that be work-related or other family obligations.
If you file for divorce first, then it is likely that if the outstanding issues in your case had to be decided at a trial (by the judge), then you would be the first to present your case. This means, that you have to start preparing for court way ahead of the other side timewise; the other side gets to hear testimony and your legal theories before they have to present their side. This is a legal strategy that is best discussed with your attorney, because there are pros and cons to consider.
Why is it best to plan for divorce first?
The better you are prepared, the better your chances for negotiating terms to your advantage. It is prudent to first always have a solid plan and have considered all your options before rushing to file paperwork. Here are some benefits that come with being ahead of the curve.
You get first choice for professional help, like attorneys.
If your marriage has deteriorated to the point where you’re considering a divorce, acting first allows you to have first choice of local attorneys. You can choose a divorce lawyer who will fight for your rights and for the best terms possible. Because an attorney can learn confidential information during a consultation, it’s a conflict of interest for an attorney to speak to you if your spouse has already consulted with them.
Divorce can be one of life’s most stressful, emotionally draining experiences. It involves major decisions about your joint assets and debts, about who will stay in the family home, and probably most importantly about child custody arrangements, including visitation and support. Having the right attorney can make all the difference in the outcome. At MR. Men’s Rights Divorce & Family Law of New Jersey by Schultz & Associates, LLC, our divorce and family law attorneys will be there for you. We help you navigate all legal hurdles before you and provide you guidance to avoid mistakes that will affect your future and that of your family. We will be at your side, fighting for your rights from the start and throughout the entire divorce process.
Call us today at 201-880-9770, so we can discuss your unique situation, answer your questions and concerns, and show you how we can help. The sooner you contact us the better, so we can get you in the best possible position before you file for divorce.
You have time to find additional support (for you and your kids).
Since divorce can be stressful, you may choose to hire professionals to support you, such as a therapist for emotional support and financial planners or forensic accountants for financial protection. Starting to plan early allows you first pick of these resources. If you feel your children may need support, you’ll have time to reflect on what needs they may have and tp conduct a thorough search for people who can help them. You can also consider what time you may need to set aside to give your children your added attention and support. Our attorneys may be able to help you connect with appropriate individuals to help you prepare for your impending divorce and to gather all the documentation you may need.
Planning Helps to Avoid Being Emotionally Compromised
Divorce isn’t pleasant. It is an emotionally charged event most people never want to think about, let alone experience. When people are emotionally compromised, they tend to make rash judgments, which ultimately leads to decisions they later regret. Those decisions can have profound implications for your divorce. You don’t want to do something your spouse can use against you. Getting help from others early in the process can help keep you level-headed and encourage rational, well-thought-out, logical decisions.
You Have Opportunity to Gather Necessary Documentation
Planning for divorce early not only allows you the opportunity to pick the people who can help you, you also get a head start on finding and copying documents that you will need, such as mortgage statements; bank, brokerage, and retirement account statements; household bills; titles of ownership; and proof of insurance. As you make these preparations, ensure that you have all of your documentation organized and in a secure location. If you have electronic records, or plan to scan hard copy documents, use a computer and storage device only you have access to, if that’s possible.
You Can Get Yourself in an Advantageous Financial Position
It can be beneficial to start saving money for the expenses of your divorce or to secure a line of credit to get you through the upcoming months before you formally file and let the cat out of the bag. If you open new credit cards, do so in your own name. Perhaps more important than planning your financial future is protecting your financial present. This is where legal representation is vital early on in the process.
Some spouses may attempt to hide financial assets once they know a divorce is imminent. By speaking with an attorney early in the planning process, you can strategize on ways to prevent yourself from becoming a victim. While there are legal consequences to hiding assets, some spouses are willing to take the risk to avoid having their assets exposed to be divided in some form or fashion.
Potentially a more catastrophic scenario would be if your spouse cut you off financially and made it difficult for you to get by on your own. If your spouse has control of all your money, even if it is in a shared account, you could find yourself in a bad spot if your spouse decides to be vindictive. A skilled attorney can help you uncover potential risks you may face and provide ways and options to protect yourself first, so you don’t find yourself in that predicament
Should You File for Divorce First? Ask Our Attorneys.
Every divorce situation is unique, depending on the specific factors involved. While it is usually advantageous to file for divorce first, our New Jersey divorce attorneys will review the facts of your individual situation to determine your next best step. If you’re asking yourself, “should I file for divorce first?” give us a call and we can guide you through the decision-making process. We will discuss those issues that will impact your divorce, address your questions and concerns, and help make the determination of what next steps are best for you short and long term.
The team at MR. Men’s Rights Divorce & Family Law of New Jersey by Schultz & Associates, LLC will be there for you to handle all legal hurdles. We will help you get through the divorce process as smoothly as possible. If your situation is complicated, we are strong litigators who have built a reputation for handling difficult and fact-specific cases. We help clients whose divorces involve business ownership, complex compensation, hidden assets, abuse allegations, and highly charged child custody disputes.
Find out why you should file for divorce first. Call us today at 201-880-9770 to get started.