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Carman, Bevington & Finegan Blog

Is there any advantage to divorcing first?

If you and your spouse are having difficulties, you both might be thinking about a possible divorce. Some people take the initiative and file the divorce petition, while others might wait until their spouse takes this step. One question our Brandon divorce attorneys often hear is whether there is an advantage to starting the divorce process first.

Fully Preparing for the Divorce

If your spouse suddenly serves you with divorce papers, it can catch you off guard. You then will have a short time to respond to the divorce petition, which means you have to immediately scramble to find the right divorce lawyer, gather all the necessary information, and take stock of your property and assets.

If you are the one to file first, you eliminate the chance of a surprise. You can carefully choose your lawyer, take full inventory of your situation, and ensure your divorce petition reflects your goals for the divorce process and beyond.

More Financial Control

Divorce can be costly, and if you choose when the process starts, you can make sure you have the funds to cover legal and court costs. While there might never be an ideal time to get divorced, it helps to have control over the timing.

In addition, when you file with knowledge of your financial situation, it reduces the chances that your spouse might hide or waste assets to try to gain an advantage in the divorce outcome. Upon receiving the petition, the court can issue an order that prevents the sale of property or other transfers, which helps to protect your property distribution rights and protect your financial situation following the divorce.

You can also have more say in how the divorce proceeds if you file first. For example, if your spouse engaged in adultery, you can raise this issue in the divorce petition. Even though Florida law does not allow fault-based divorces, the court can consider misconduct for other purposes, such as alimony or property division.

You can also discuss your goals for the divorce carefully with your attorney prior to filing, and your lawyer can clearly set out your requests in your petition. This puts you in a proactive position instead of having to respond to your spouse’s demands.

If you are in a situation where you need to move immediately due to domestic violence or escalating threats, you can request that the court issues temporary orders governing time-sharing and financial support while the divorce is pending. This can make your separation easier.

Consult with a Brandon Divorce Attorney Today

If you are considering a divorce, discuss whether you might want to file first with an experienced Brandon divorce attorney. You can also discuss the pros and cons of informing your spouse that you intend to file or not. Our legal team at Carman, Bevington & Finegan, P.A., is ready to help, so please do not hesitate to contact us online or call 813-654-3444 for help with all of your divorce questions and concerns.