One of the questions we are often asked at Freed Marcroft is whether there is an advantage to filing for divorce before your spouse. Given that this is such a common concern, we have put together a three-part series detailing the potential financial, legal, and family benefits to being the first to file.
We will begin today with the top financial benefits, but first, understand that divorce is not just a legal or financial process, it is also an emotional one. You should not file unless you are emotionally ready to do so.
That said, even if you are not prepared to file, if you have an inkling that your husband or wife is considering divorce, you should still immediately contact an attorney to obtain information about the law and practical insight about the process.
At Freed Marcroft, we frequently meet with spouses who either are (1) in the very initial stages of considering ending their marriage, or (2) who have only a fledgling sense that their spouse may want to legally end the relationship. Seeing an attorney doesn’t inevitably lead to either spouse filing. It does help you gain information, reduce the fear of unknowns, and give you a sense of comfort. The many topics we discuss may include the financial, and legal pros and cons to filing first.
Without further ado, here the top four financial advantages to filing for divorce first. (Stay tuned for our upcoming posts about the top legal and familial advantages to filing first for divorce — coming soon!)
- Obtain Copies of Financial Records. In the event the marriage does breakdown, you will need copies of important financial documents and records. It is often easier to make copies of these items while the marriage is still intact. Locating and copying all these documents can take considerable time and effort, particularly if your spouse is secretive about finances. Filing first means that you’ll be able to have all your documentation organized and in a secure location before divorce papers are served.
- Prepare for Financial Consequences. As soon as you think divorce may be in your future, you will want to ensure that you can survive on your own if your spouse temporarily cuts off access to joint accounts and begin to set aside money for the expenses involved. Also, if you don’t have a credit card in your own name, you should consider opening one while you are still married.
- Help Prevent Hidden Assets. Unfortunately, some spouses attempt to hide assets during the divorce process. Because of Connecticut’s automatic orders, filing first may help guard against any underhanded tactics.
- Line Up Your “A Team” in Advance. Assembling the right team to help you achieve the best possible outcome from your divorce can take some time. For starters, you will need an attorney who is both well-versed in Connecticut marital and family law and with whom you feel comfortable. Depending on your financial situation, she may suggest that you involve a financial professional prior to filing. In addition, we also frequently recommend that you consider involving a good therapist to help guide you through the emotional complexities of the process.
In closing, there are some financial advantages to filing first in a divorce case. That said, whether or not you file first, the ultimate outcome of your divorce case should not be affected. An experienced family law attorney, like those at Freed Marcroft, can represent your interests regardless of whether you are the plaintiff or the defendant.