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Are there benefits to being the first to file for divorce?

It is rarely a joyous occasion when a marriage reaches its end. Because it can be such a difficult decision, many Florida spouses procrastinate before filing for divorce. This is good if there is a chance to save the marriage, but when the relationship is broken beyond repair, procrastination may not serve your best interests.

While it is neither right nor wrong to file divorce papers first, some associated benefits of filing first do exist. Once you have concluded that your marriage is irreparable, the following advantages of filing first may convince you that it is time to start the proceedings.

Advance preparation: By filing for divorce first, you have a great opportunity to find an attorney that will advocate for you and help you avoid any mistakes. In turn, your lawyer can help you choose any financial experts or other team members that may help you strengthen your case.

Gathering documentation: One of the most challenging aspects of divorce involves rounding up the necessary documentation. This may include bank statements, insurance policies, wills and trusts retirement account statements and real estate records. Filing first gives you time to get your papers in order before you need them.

Element of surprise: This might sound petty, but it may protect your financial interests. If you file papers first, it may prevent your spouse from attempting to hide assets.

Financial security: Knowing that divorce is imminent gives you a chance to address any financial issues you may encounter before they occur. For example, you can take steps to set aside funds to cover the expenses associated with your divorce ahead of time.

Restoring control of your life: In many marriages and divorces, this is not a big issue. However, in combative marriages or those fraught with domestic violence, filing first may imbue you with the strength to retake control of your life while seeing the divorce through to the end.

Source: Forbes, "What Are The Financial And Legal Advantages Of Being First To File For Divorce?," Jeff Landers, accessed April 12, 2018

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