What Happens When You File For Divorce First? Learn the Advantages and Risks

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Divorce is a challenging and emotionally draining process. When in the midst of it, you might find yourself wondering whether filing for divorce first gives you any advantages or disadvantages. While there’s no easy answer to this question, as every situation is unique, understanding what happens when you file for divorce first can help you make informed decisions.

Filing for divorce first means that you are taking the legal initiative to end your marriage. In some cases, being the first to file may give you an advantage over your spouse, but there are also potential risks involved. It’s important to weigh the pros and cons before making such an important decision.

“The first to apologize is the bravest. The first to forgive is the strongest. And the first to forget is the happiest.”- Anonymous

In this blog post, we will discuss the advantages and risks of being the first one who files for divorce. We’ll explore how being proactive in this process can impact property division, child custody, and spousal support. Additionally, we’ll cover some of the possible risks, like starting the divorce on a confrontational note, escalating tension, and ending up with unexpected consequences.

By reading this article, you’ll gain valuable insights that can help you decide whether filing for divorce first is right for you. Our goal is to provide you with expert guidance so that you can navigate this complicated, emotional journey successfully.

You Take Control of the Divorce Process

When a marriage falls apart, divorce becomes an inevitable choice for many people. If you are considering filing for divorce, it is crucial to understand how this move may affect the outcome of your proceedings. Filing for divorce first can either work in your favor or against you depending on how well prepared you are.

Choose Your Own Attorney

Choosing your own attorney when going through a divorce gives you greater control over likeably outcomes, especially if you file for divorce first. Hiring an experienced family lawyer who understands your needs and goals can make all the difference in the process trajectory and final settlement.

“By hiring an experienced attorney, who knows the courts, judges and opposing counsel, you’ll be taking a proactive step towards achieving custody you want while ensuring that your rights remain protected throughout the proceeding.” -NJFamilyLawDivorce.com

With an attorney working on your behalf, you have better chances of reaching negotiated settlements rather than a protracted legal battle. Your attorney would also guide you about equitable distribution of assets including alimony payments and property division.

Decide on the Timeline

Filing for divorce first provides you with control over the timeline as the ball is entirely in your court after initiating the process. Choosing the right time to file for divorce requires carefully weighing the pros and cons based on your individual circumstances.

If breaking free from a toxic relationship has become a priority, filing for divorce first will help in moving forward decisively. However, timing could be less relevant in cases where both spouses agree to end their marriage amicably.

“Initiating the process earlier isn’t always advantageous because serving papers abruptly rips off the Band-Aid without giving anyone enough time to prepare, especially if there are children involved.” -SheSaid.com

The timing also matters depending on the complexity of your marital estate and any outstanding issues that need resolution. If you have a clear idea about what you expect from the divorce, consulting with an experienced attorney at the right time will prove invaluable.

Make the Decisions on Your Own

The one filing for divorce is in control over who gets served first, which might set the tone of negotiations going forward. In many cases, the person initiating can gain additional leverage by being proactive in resolving details early on that works out effectively not only emotionally but financially as well.

“The party who files first may also be seen as setting the agenda or taking the initiative. There’s often a sense that this individual is more in control of the proceedings than the other party” -Huffington Post Contributor

If both partners cannot agree, the court will have to make legal decisions regarding property distribution, alimony payments, etc. This results in uncertainty where outcomes are unpredictable. When you file for divorce first, you have better chances of comprehensively negotiating these agreements before it goes to trial.

Taking control of the divorce process through the help of a trusted attorney allows individuals to take their lives back after disappointing situations like relationships end in dismay. Remember that each case is unique, so consider all factors and seek sound advice before making significant moves. Being equipped with knowledge and strategy ensures the best possible outcome of your divorce settlement.

You Get to Choose the Venue for the Divorce Proceedings

When you file for divorce first, you have a big advantage in choosing the venue for the proceedings. The main reason is that the court where the divorce petition is filed usually has jurisdiction over the case. That means you get to pick the location where your case will be heard and decided upon.

Pick a Location That’s Convenient for You

Choosing a convenient location for both parties involved in the divorce can make the process less stressful. If you’re the one who filed for divorce first, it’s important to consider filing in a courthouse or mediation center nearest to you so you don’t have to travel too far. This also applies if there are any child custody issues that need to be addressed. Having the hearings closer to home may reduce the scheduling difficulties associated with traveling long distances on hearing dates.

Your ex-spouse may try to influence the decision of where to hold the proceedings by requesting it to be held in their hometown, workplace or other locations not favorable to you. In this situation, it would be best to work with your attorney to contest any unreasonable request made by them and fight for a venue perfect for you.

Choose an Environment You’re Comfortable In

The courtroom is generally thought to be a scary and tense place, but depending on how you perceive things, it doesn’t necessarily have to be that way. If you want to feel more at ease during the divorce proceedings, choose an environment that you’re comfortable in; maybe somewhere familiar to you like your lawyer’s office or a mediation center. These private settings may provide privacy and a level of comfort that could help calm emotions during negotiations.

In some cases, holding the proceedings in open public courts may seem daunting, especially if there’s a likelihood for confidential or sensitive information to be exposed. If you feel that your case is something that needs to be handled outside public scrutiny, then discuss this with your attorney and work towards having the proceedings held in a closed session.

Make the Space Your Own

Taking control of the environment where your divorce hearing takes place can help increase confidence, reduce anxiety, and create an overall sense of empowerment for the individual going through the process. You may choose to decorate the mediation room with your favorite items like photos, flowers or non-offensive artworks which can serve as distractions if things get really tense.

“By controlling your environment, you can shape the emotional tone of any interaction.” -Robert Greene

If the venue you chose is not suitable for whatever reason, make sure to speak up about it well before the trial date to allow enough time for adjustments to be made. A space that’s tailored to how you function could provide an extra edge in negotiations.

  • Choosing a location convenient to both parties, selecting a familiar environment, and making the space your own are some of the ways in which you can improve the experience of attending these hearings.
  • Discussing your concerns openly with your attorney during the initial planning phase will significantly impact the success of getting the venue that best suits your wants or needs.

You May Be Able to Secure a Better Settlement

If you’re considering filing for divorce, there are a few important things to keep in mind. One of the most significant is the fact that being the first one to file can give you a certain advantage in your case. Filing first sets the tone and establishes the initial framework for negotiations and discussions surrounding divorce settlements and child custody arrangements.

When you make the decision to move forward with divorce proceedings, it’s understandable to feel overwhelmed or unsure about what steps to take next. But understanding the potential benefits of being the first to file can help you approach this challenging situation with confidence and clarity.

Use Negotiation Tactics to Your Advantage

The process of getting divorced involves many different factors and variables, including asset division, spousal support, and child custody matters. If you’re the first spouse to file for divorce, this may put you in a better position to negotiate more favorable terms and conditions for these issues.

One effective tactic for achieving these goals is to prepare yourself thoroughly before entering into any discussions or meetings with your former partner or lawyers connected to both sides. This means researching court precedents relevant to your circumstances, gathering relevant financial documents, and familiarizing yourself with every aspect of divorce law in your state or region.

“Negotiating isn’t just haggling or making a deal; it is finding common ground for parties to agree,” says negotiator Kolie Crutcher. “The objective should be long-term outcomes versus short-term gains.”

In addition to minimizing disagreements, negotiating can also help each party understand their expectations from each other during and after the separation. Remember that negotiation doesn’t always need to be an adversarial process though so do not hesitate to advocate for yourself and your interests if necessary.

Get a Better Understanding of Your Finances

Financial disagreements are frequently cited as one of the main sources of conflict in divorce cases. As such, it is important to take proactive steps that will ensure you have a full and accurate understanding of your personal and joint financial circumstances ahead of filing for divorce.

This preparation may include gathering bank statements, pay stubs, and tax documents as well as any agreements governing spousal maintenance that currently exist between yourself and your partner. Having this information upfront and readily available can help streamline the settlement process overall while also potentially guaranteeing better outcomes in critical areas like child support or property division.

“In terms of advice, individuals should be aware of all of their current financial arrangements with their spouses,” says Tanya Lombard, a family law attorney, “including how much debt they owe.”

Prioritize establishing credit in your name, or opening up your own savings account if it is safe and possible to do so as soon as legally allowed. Having separate finances means having alternative options when making decisions about huge purchases or renting out another home if necessary. It can provide leverage during negotiations and may become crucial in case the other party does not meet their obligations concerning spousal support or meeting agreed upon conditions.

There can be many benefits to being the first to file for divorce. However, before taking this step, it’s essential to understand what you’re getting into and work with experts to create an informed plan and strategy that fits your life goals and financial situation best. The end goal here is to ensure that both parties come from an agreement basis to prevent harm and more formidable legal issues surfacing.

You Can Set the Tone for the Divorce

When filing for divorce, being the first to take action can often have a significant impact on the overall outcome of the proceedings. Filing first can allow you to set the tone for how the divorce process will play out, with communication, cooperation, and a focus on the future all being key factors in achieving a positive outcome.

Keep Communication Open and Civil

One of the most important ways in which you can set the tone for your divorce is by keeping communication open and civil between yourself and your spouse. This means avoiding any confrontational or accusatory language, and instead working towards finding common ground and identifying solutions that are mutually beneficial.

By taking the time to communicate effectively, you can lay the groundwork for a more successful divorce process, as well as minimizing the potential emotional stress and turmoil that can arise from confrontations or disagreements.

“Communication is the key to a successful divorce… it’s not about who wins or gets their way; it’s about having productive conversations.” -Tiffany Beverlin, founder of DreamsRecycled.com

Encourage Cooperation and Compromise

Another fundamental element in setting a positive tone for your divorce is encouraging both cooperation and compromise whenever possible. While there may be areas where you and your spouse cannot agree, focusing on the aspects where you share common goals and interests can help pave the way towards an amicable separation.

This could include working together to develop a detailed parenting plan, or coming to an equitable division of assets and liabilities based on what makes sense for both parties. By demonstrating a willingness to work collaboratively during these important decisions, you can help establish a tone of mutual respect and a shared commitment to moving forward.

“Compromising and communicating with your ex-spouse during the divorce process can make all the difference in creating a less hostile environment for yourself and, more importantly, your children.” -Michael Aurit, co-founder and family law attorney at The Aurit Center for Divorce Mediation

Focus on the Future Instead of the Past

A critical aspect of setting the tone for your divorce is looking towards the future rather than dwelling on past grievances or resentments. While it may be difficult to set aside negative feelings or emotions from a failed marriage, focusing on what you hope to achieve post-divorce can help shift your mindset towards a more positive outcome.

This could involve dedicating time and energy towards building new relationships, pursuing new career opportunities, or simply taking steps to live life on your own terms. By focusing on the future rather than the past, you can demonstrate to both yourself and your spouse that you are committed to moving forward in a healthy and productive way.

“If your energy is spent fretting about how bad things have been, it’s unlikely that much progress will occur. If you focus instead on where you want things to go… then you’re telling the Universe that you’re ready to move forward positively.” -Karen Finn, certified divorce coach and author

Filing for divorce first can provide you with an opportunity to set the tone for the entire process. By prioritizing open communication, cooperation, compromise, and a focus on the future, you can establish a foundation for a successful separation and maintain a positive relationship with your soon-to-be former partner.

You Will Need to Provide Evidence to Support Your Claims

When filing for divorce, it’s important to understand that simply stating your reasons for wanting the divorce is not enough. You will need to provide evidence and supporting documentation to back up your claims.

This can include things like financial documents such as bank statements and income tax returns, correspondence between you and your spouse regarding the issues causing the divorce, and any relevant medical or mental health records if those are involved in the case.

In order to ensure that you have all of the necessary evidence, it’s a good idea to start gathering documents as soon as possible. Keep everything organized in one place so that you can easily access it when needed during the divorce proceedings.

Gather and Organize All Relevant Documents

The first step in gathering evidence to support your claims is to figure out what kind of evidence will be most useful for your case. This will vary depending on the circumstances of your divorce.

If child custody is going to be an issue in your case, for example, you may want to gather evidence that shows why you are the better parent to take care of the children. This could include receipts showing that you paid for extracurricular activities or school expenses, letters from teachers praising your involvement in the children’s education, and copies of doctor’s appointments showing that you regularly took them to get check-ups and required medical treatments.

On the other hand, if property distribution is going to be a major point of contention, then you’ll want to focus on collecting all of the documentation related to your assets and debts. This might include mortgage statements, home appraisals, loan paperwork, and more.

Once you’ve identified which kinds of evidence you need, make sure you have every document available at your fingertips to bring to court. Put them in easy-to-find physical or digital folders, so that you can reference them quickly and efficiently.

Use Expert Testimony to Support Your Case

In certain situations, it might be necessary to call upon expert witnesses to testify on your behalf. This could include therapists, physicians, forensic accountants or any other professional recognized as an authority for a specific issue.

In cases where assets need to be evaluated professionally (such as businesses), an appraiser may be hired by either party. However, if the two parties don’t agree on the value, hiring separate appraisers will result in additional costs.

When choosing who to hire as your expert witness, make sure they have expertise specific to the issues related to your case. Additionally, determine what type of testimony is needed: written declarations, affidavits, reports on financials and/or property values, verbal witness testimonies, e.g., etc.

“Expert witnesses are frequently used in divorce proceedings to provide information about custody and visitation schedules, as well as child support guidelines.” -The Balance

Keep in mind that obtaining expert testimony can be costly and time-consuming. Make sure to discuss budgeting with your legal team beforehand to avoid unnecessary expenses down the line.

It’s never easy to go through a divorce, but armed with strong evidence and expert testimony, you’ll be better positioned to achieve success in your negotiations and ultimately move forward into your new chapter of life.

You May Face More Pressure and Stress

One of the major concerns for people who file for divorce first is the added pressure and stress that comes along with it. The process of getting a divorce is challenging enough, but when you are the one initiating the divorce proceedings, you may feel like you are shouldering most of the burden.

Filing for divorce first means that you will be responsible for gathering all of the necessary paperwork and evidence to support your case. This can take a significant amount of time and energy, which can be emotionally draining.

In addition, when you file for divorce first, you may have to deal with resistance from your spouse. They may not be ready to accept the end of the marriage or may try to contest the terms of the divorce. This can lead to more stress and tension between both parties.

Take Care of Your Mental Health

It’s important to remember that filing for divorce first can take a toll on your mental health. You may experience feelings of anxiety, confusion, sadness, or anger during this time.

It’s essential to prioritize your mental well-being throughout this process by taking time for self-care. This can include activities such as exercise, meditation, spending time outdoors, or engaging in hobbies you enjoy. It might also help to seek the support of a therapist or counselor who can guide you through this emotional journey.

If you find yourself struggling with your mental health, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. There are many resources available to those going through a divorce, including crisis hotlines, support groups, and therapy services.

Ask for Help from Friends and Family

Going through a divorce can be isolating, but it’s important to remember that you’re not alone. If you need support, don’t be afraid to ask for help from friends and family members.

Your loved ones can provide a listening ear, offer guidance, or simply be there to cheer you up when things get tough. They may also be able to assist with practical tasks like moving, childcare, or running errands.

Asking for help is not a sign of weakness; in fact, it takes strength to admit that you need assistance during this challenging time. Surround yourself with people who love and care about you, and don’t hesitate to reach out when you need them.

Consider Hiring a Therapist or Mediator

If you’re struggling to communicate effectively with your spouse or if you’re having trouble navigating the divorce process, consider hiring a therapist or mediator to help facilitate discussions.

A trained professional can help both parties work through their emotions and create solutions that are fair and equitable. A therapist can also provide valuable advice on how to communicate more effectively and reduce tension between both parties.

In addition, seeking mediation early in the process can help avoid expensive court battles and drawn-out negotiations. With the help of a mediator, couples can come to an agreement on terms such as child custody, division of assets, and spousal support before going to court.

Take Breaks and Practice Self-Care

Filing for divorce first can be incredibly draining, both emotionally and physically. It’s important to take breaks throughout the process and practice self-care regularly.

You might find that taking a day off work to rest, relaxing with a good book, or treating yourself to a spa day can do wonders for your mental health. As mentioned before, engaging in activities you enjoy like exercising, practicing mindfulness or hobbies is essential to improve mood and well-being.

Taking regular breaks can help you recharge and return to the divorce proceedings with a renewed sense of energy and clarity.

“Divorce isn’t such a tragedy. A tragedy’s staying in an unhappy marriage, teaching your children the wrong things about love.” – Jennifer Weiner

Remember, filing for divorce first doesn’t have to be insurmountable. By prioritizing your mental health, seeking support when necessary, and practicing self-care consistently, you can overcome the challenges and come out on the other side feeling stronger and more resilient than before.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the advantages of filing for divorce first?

Filing for divorce first can give you the upper hand in the divorce proceedings. It allows you to set the tone for the case and choose the jurisdiction where the divorce will take place. You can also prepare your case and gather evidence before your spouse has a chance to do so. Additionally, filing first can give you a psychological advantage, as it shows that you are taking control of the situation.

What are the disadvantages of filing for divorce first?

Filing for divorce first can also have some drawbacks. It can create a sense of hostility between you and your spouse, making it more difficult to negotiate a settlement. It can also be more expensive, as you will have to pay for the filing fees and legal costs. In some cases, filing first can also lead to a longer and more contentious divorce process.

What happens when you file for divorce first in terms of property division?

When you file for divorce first, you have the opportunity to present your case for property division first. This can give you an advantage in negotiations, as you can propose a settlement that is more favorable to you. However, the court will ultimately decide how property is divided based on several factors, including the length of the marriage, each spouse’s contributions to the marriage, and the needs of any children involved.

What happens when you file for divorce first in terms of child custody?

When you file for divorce first, you have the opportunity to request custody of your children. However, the court will make custody decisions based on the best interests of the children, taking into account factors such as each parent’s ability to care for the children, the children’s relationships with each parent, and the children’s preferences (if they are old enough to express them).

What happens when you file for divorce first if your spouse contests the divorce?

If your spouse contests the divorce, the process can become more complicated and time-consuming. You may have to attend hearings and trials to resolve disputes, and the court may appoint a mediator or guardian ad litem to help resolve issues related to child custody or property division. In some cases, the contested divorce process can take months or even years to complete.

What happens when you file for divorce first and how long does the process take?

The divorce process can vary depending on the circumstances of your case. If you and your spouse are able to reach an agreement on all issues, the process can be relatively quick and may only take a few months. However, if there are disputes over property division or child custody, the process can take much longer. In some cases, the contested divorce process can take years to complete.

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