If you have made up your mind to divorce your partner, it may be it your best interest to submit the application before your partner does. This is because the person who files first has some advantages over their partner. Specifically, here are some of the financial advantages you stand to enjoy when you file for divorce:
Gathering and Preserving Essential Documentation
If you can't prove the existence of a specific property during asset division, you may not get a share of the property if your partner denies its existence. What is more, if your spouse is sneaky enough, there are several tricks they can use to hide assets from you.
However, by filing first, you are likely to catch your spouse off guard, and you can gather and preserve essential paper trail for the relevant assets. For example, you can get your hands on real estate records, insurance policies, stock options, and others. That way you don't have to use precious time and resources looking for hidden assets later on.
Making Financial Preparations for the Divorce
An average divorce costs $2,500 to $10,000, but it can be more if the divorce is highly contested. You will be required to pay some of the money upfront (retainer), and replenish the account each time it nears depletion. This can be difficult to do if you are suddenly presented with a divorce petition. However, if you make the initial filing, the chances are high that you will do so only after acquiring the requisite funds.
Getting Your Choice of Jurisdiction
Filing first may also benefit you if you are living in a different state from your partner. This may happen, for example, if you have been separated for a long time, and one of you has moved to another state. If both of you meets your respective state's residence requirements, the spouse who files first get to decide the jurisdiction to handle the divorce.
By filing first, you get to have the divorce process in your home state, which has several benefits. For example, you will save on commuting costs every time you need to go to court. It may also be to your advantage if your state has better alimony laws than your partner's state.
This is not to say that you are doomed if your spouse files for divorce first. You still have a good chance of getting through the divorce with your finances intact if you hire a lawyer, like the Law Office of Diane F. Russell, as soon as possible.