Are There Benefits To Filing For Divorce First?
If you are thinking about ending your marriage, you may wonder if it is beneficial to be the one to file for divorce before your spouse. Legally speaking, there is no benefit to filing for divorce first. Florida is a no-fault divorce state. As such, either party can file at any time by stating the marriage is irretrievably broken. The person who files first is responsible for paying the filing fees. However, being the first to file does hold certain other benefits. Below, our Orlando divorce lawyer explains what these are.
Divorces are heard in the family courts in the jurisdiction where the case is filed. If you file first, you can choose the jurisdiction, which may work in your favor in certain situations. For example, if your spouse has moved to Alabama in anticipation of the marriage ending, you may want to file for divorce in Florida. Perhaps you think your spouse may accuse you of adultery, which is a ground for divorce in Alabama. By filing in Florida, a no-fault divorce state, you can eliminate this obstacle, which can make your divorce easier.
Under Florida law, at least one spouse must reside in Florida for a minimum of six months before they can file for divorce. The divorce petition must be filed in the county in which they reside.
Other Advantages to Filing for Divorce First
Other than jurisdiction, there is no legal benefit to filing for divorce first. However, you may realize personal and psychological benefits when filing first. These benefits are as follows:
- More preparation time: By filing first, you will have more time to collect documents, consult with a divorce lawyer about how to best position yourself, and emotionally process the significance of the divorce. You do not want to create unnecessary delays in the process but once you have filed, your spouse has only 20 days to respond. If they are surprised by the legal action, that time can pass very quickly.
- Protect yourself financially: Once a person files for divorce, as the petitioner they are no longer jointly liable for any debts your spouse accumulates after that date. Moreover, you may also be better able to protect your assets and income you acquired after the date of filing.
- Obtain a civil injunction: If you believe filing for divorce will pose a danger of abusive or threatening behavior, you can petition the court for a civil injunction. If you are successful, the court will grant you a temporary restraining order against your spouse.
Before and during a divorce, it is important to do what is right for your particular situation. Consulting with an Orlando divorce lawyer beforehand can help you determine the best action to take.
Our Divorce Lawyers in Orlando Can Provide Sound Legal Advice
If you are considering divorce and are not sure about the next steps to take. At Anderson & Ferrin, P.A., our Orlando divorce lawyers can advise you of the law so you can make the best informed decisions. Call us now at 407-412-7041 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation and to learn more.