Should I File for Divorce First or Wait for My Spouse?

Should I File for Divorce First or Wait for My Spouse to File?

Deciding whether to file for divorce first or wait for your spouse to file is an important decision. Filing first is advantageous, especially when there are time-sensitive matters or potential negative consequences regarding finances or child custody if you do not file first. This article will guide you through considerations to help you decide if you should file first.

When to Consider Filing for Divorce First

Time-Sensitive Matters

If there are urgent issues, such as threats to physical safety or the need to protect children, money, or property, filing first may be important. Filing first puts these issues before a judge and allows you to get court orders.

Divorce is full of urban legend. Most of these are born from foolish statements that have gained traction over the years or decades. Some of it is just a misunderstanding of the law. When it comes to filing first, the only person you should listen to is an experienced divorce lawyer. Unemotional and logical advice is the path to smart choices.

- B. Robert Farzad

Emotional Barriers to Filing for Divorce

Overcoming the Stigma

Many spouses hesitate to file for divorce first due to the perception that it makes them the "bad person." This mindset prevents some people from taking necessary steps to protect themselves or their children, even when they know the marriage is over.

Filing first doesn't mean picking a fight; it means taking control of the situation. And there is nothing wrong with doing that when you have much on the line.

Jurisdiction and Venue: Why Filing First Matters

Understanding Jurisdiction and Venue

Jurisdiction is the court's power to hear your case and make orders. Venue is the location where the case is heard. Filing first can determine which court has jurisdiction, potentially saving you from the inconvenience of litigating in a different county.

Case Example:

If you live in Orange County and your spouse lives in Northern California, filing first in Orange County may ensure the case is heard locally. This can prevent the hassle of finding a lawyer in another county and traveling for court appearances.

Immediate Child Custody Orders

Protecting Your Children

If your children are in immediate danger, either physically or through potential abduction, filing for divorce quickly is crucial. The Family Court can issue immediate custody orders to protect your children's health and safety. Delaying this can have severe consequences, such as:

  1. Losing jurisdiction to another state or country if your spouse abducts the children.
  2. The court not taking your allegations seriously if you delay seeking intervention.

Protecting Assets and Financial Security

Safeguarding Your Finances

Sometimes, one spouse may try to hide or dispose of assets. If there are warning signs of financial misconduct, filing for divorce can protect your interests. Ignoring these signs can result in significant financial loss and potentially costly legal battles to recover assets or money.

Making the Decision

Consider the Seriousness of the decision

Filing for divorce is a significant decision that should not be taken lightly. It should be considered only if the marital relationship has failed despite your best efforts. Once you reach this decision, however, finding the right divorce lawyer and acting without procrastination is essential to protect your interests and secure a favorable outcome.

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