Are There Advantages To Being The First Spouse To File For Divorce?

If you have separated from your spouse and are contemplating divorce, you may have wondered if there are benefits to being the first to obtain the services of an attorney, thereby also being first to get your paperwork filed with the Court. Does this mean you are operating from a position of strength by being on the offense? Are there real legal benefits to being the party to file divorceinitiate legal proceedings?

Collecting Your Information

A recent article in Forbes Magazine written by family law legal expert Jeff Landers states one of the biggest advantages to being first to file in a Family Court case is that it allows you more time to get all of your information collected, reviewed, organized, and prepared. You are able to meet with an attorney, determine the documentation that will be needed in your case, and begin making financial preparations for the inevitable split, such as opening up your own bank accounts and closing joint accounts.  Having the extra time to get all of this done first, rather than being surprised by being served with pleadings and notice of a hearing can be a huge advantage.

Controlling the Narrative

It’s good advice for people in the public eye, when faced with adverse personal happenings or scandals, to get out ahead of the bad news telling the story on their own terms. Doing this allows such people to control the narrative and the direction of the story. The same advice and logic parallels the initiation of divorce proceedings. Though starting divorce proceedings is not attempting to control a scandal, it can still be beneficial to be the first spouse to be proactive in making statements to the Court about your marriage thereby laying out the reasons you wish to be divorced.

The initial pleadings filed with the Court to begin the case contain allegations as to the basis for the divorce. If drafted by an experienced family law attorney, this can be a good way to begin laying the foundation for the reasoning of the overall case that you intend to make. By being the first to file, your pleadings in many cases will likely be the first documents the Judge reads in your case and your attorney will be the first to make her presentation at most hearings. Getting your story on the record first and controlling how it is presented can potentially make a difference in how your case plays out.

If you are considering divorce, the first step is acquiring the services of an experienced family law attorney who will guide you through the process. Donna Wagnor has such experience and can help lighten your load in developing a strategy and employing a proactive case. Contact Donna’s office and schedule a consultation to discuss your separation and intent to divorce.

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