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Three Advantages of Being First to File for Divorce

Posted on in Divorce

Novi, MI divorce attorneyAre you thinking about a divorce, but are unsure if you want to be the one to actually start the legal process? This might tip you into action: The spouse who files for divorce first has several advantages over the other spouse.

1. Choosing the Court Location

When you file for divorce, you must do it in the state and county where you currently live. Suppose that you currently live in Oakland County, Michigan, and the person you are divorcing has recently moved to Illinois. If you file first, your divorce will be handled in the Oakland County court. But if your spouse files first, your divorce will be handled by a court in Illinois, which could prove very inconvenient for you. 

Note that each state has its own residency requirements for divorce. For a Michigan divorce, you must have lived in the state for at least 180 days and in your county for at least 10 days. In contrast, Illinois only requires 90 days of residency prior to filing for divorce.

2. Setting the Tone

The end of a marriage can be gut-wrenching. But by filing first, you can establish a sense of control over the process. By being proactive, you take the first confident step toward a new, independent life. 

You can now be the one to set the tone for the proceedings to follow. For example, you might choose an attorney trained in the collaborative divorce process, setting the stage for you and your spouse to work together, rather than as adversaries, to reach a mutually agreeable settlement over the terms of your divorce.  

3. Protecting What Matters Most: Children, Home, Assets

By being the one who files for the divorce, you have the first opportunity to ask the court for special orders, such as control over the family home, custody of the children, and a freeze on assets to prevent your spouse from emptying joint accounts. This can be especially important if you are concerned that your spouse may try something harmful or deceitful.

There may be other pros and cons to filing first; an attorney can best advise you, based on your specific circumstances.

Consult an Experienced Oakland County Divorce Lawyer

If you want to take advantage of being first to file for divorce, contact a Livonia divorce attorney now. At Elkouri Heath PLC, our partners each have over 20 years of experience in Michigan divorce law. Call us at 248-344-9700 to schedule a free consultation.

Sources:

https://legalassistancecenter.org/get-help/divorce/

https://www.forbes.com/sites/jefflanders/2016/09/23/women-when-is-the-best-time-to-file-for-divorce/#7ececc141b9c

Oakland County Bar Association State Bar of Michigan Collaborative Practice Institute of Michigan WCCDBA Woman Lawyers Association of Michigan
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