Marriages end for a variety of reasons. Infidelity, domestic violence, financial problems and simply growing apart are all frequently named reasons married couples decide to divorce. When a divorce seems eminent, there are several advantages to being the first spouse to officially file for divorce.
Filing first for divorce often allows a husband or wife to regain some sense of control in his or her life. Divorce often presents many decisions and changes which are out of an individual's control and have great emotional and financial implications, many of which are unpleasant. It can, therefore, be somewhat comforting and empowering to be the first to file.
Filing first for divorce also allows the filing individual to obtain the paperwork and financial documents necessary to do so. This can be especially beneficial in situations where a divorce becomes contentious or where a spouse attempts to hide assets. Obtaining information related to finances, assets, estate planning documents, retirement accounts and insurance policies allows for peace of mind that all assets are accounted for prior to the start of the divorce settlement process.
A husband or wife who files first for divorce is also at an advantage in regards to choosing and securing a divorce attorney. A reputable legal team is likely the most important and advantageous move an individual facing divorce can make. A divorce attorney is a skilled negotiator who can provide expert legal advice on matters related to division of assets, child custody and spousal support.
Spouses who believe divorce is on the horizon would be wise to meet with an attorney and discuss options. Even if a spouse decides not to immediately file for divorce, it's wise to learn what documents are needed to do so as well as the potential advantages of being the first to file.
Source: Forbes, "What Are The Financial And Legal Advantages Of Being First To File For Divorce?" Jeff Landers, March 26, 2013