Does It Matter Who Files For Divorce First in NJ?

Does It Matter Who Files For Divorce First in NJ?

file for divorce first

Does It Matter Who Files For Divorce First in NJ?

If you believe that your spouse is going to ask for a divorce, should you rush and try to file for divorce first? There has to be a big advantage to filing first, right? Not necessarily. You might find that there are some benefits to filing for divorce first, but they are rarely game-changers. You still may want to talk to our Chatham divorce attorneys about your options though.

Are There Some Advantages to Filing For Divorce First?

You may find that there are some advantages to being the first to file. It does give you the chance to present your case first. If you file second, you have to mostly be concerned about responding to the facts presented by your spouse when they filed first.

Filing first can also be a good idea if you suspect that your spouse is hiding assets or may attempt to hide them during a divorce. An automatic temporary restraining order, or ATRO, can stop your spouse from changing the terms on things like insurance policies or bank accounts. It can also prevent borrowing against bigger marital assets, like real estate and vehicles. The ATRO should be filed at the same time that you file for divorce.

Finally, sometimes the first person to file for divorce can end up being better prepared. If you had no idea that the papers were coming, it can make it difficult to take everything in, respond to the filing, and advocate for yourself.

What Documents Do I Need to File For Divorce First?

If you do want to file for divorce first, you will have to gather many important documents together. We recommend having these on hand before you file:

  • Tax returns from at least the previous two years
  • Bank account statements dating back at least a year
  • Proof of insurance
  • Deeds to shared properties
  • Titles for shared vehicles
  • Estate planning documents, like wills or trust documents

All of these can make it easier to get the process started and ensure that everything can be divided up equitably.

Should I Hire a Lawyer?

Going through this process on your own can be tough. An experienced family lawyer can advocate for you and help you make the strongest possible case when you are negotiating matters like property distribution and alimony. A lawyer can also help you formulate a response if you do not file for divorce first and find yourself taken by surprise.

Schedule a Consultation

If you are considering filing for divorce or you need to file a response to papers you have received, we can help. Contact Lazor Rantas, PC and ask to schedule a consultation. We can tell you more about your options and what a divorce lawyer can do to assist you.

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