What is the Benefit of Filing for Divorce First?
Being the first to file for divorce gives you the upper hand in gathering documents, protecting marital property, and asserting your rights in your divorce.
Couples can experience marital problems years before deciding to file for a divorce. In some cases, being served with a divorce petition by your spouse may come as a complete surprise, but looking back, there may have been warning signs you failed to notice. If your marriage is on shaky ground, it is to your benefit to be alert to these signs and to make an attempt to file first. It allows you to specify grounds for the divorce, while protecting any marital property you and your spouse possess.
People delay filing for divorce for multiple reasons. They may need time to decide if the marriage is worth saving and to attend counseling sessions, or they may be worried about the impact it will have on their spouse, or perhaps, their children. Unfortunately, your hesitancy in not wanting to be the first to file could end up backfiring on you, putting you at a distinct disadvantage in an eventual divorce case.
Under the Texas Family Code , divorce can be filed on the basis of irreconcilable differences between you and your spouse, which means that neither of you is specifically to blame. You may also file for divorce on the basis of fault grounds. These involve issues such as adultery, cruelty, abandonment, or conviction of a felony offense. If you file based on fault grounds, you may be potentially entitled to have your legal fees and court costs paid by your spouse. It can also benefit you in marital property division proceedings.
If you hesitate in filing for divorce despite having grounds to do so, and your spouse ends up serving you with a divorce petition, you could have a hard time proving your allegations in court. By not filing immediately, it can be seen as condoning your spouse’s behavior. It also puts you in the position of having to file an answer or counterclaim, defending yourself and your position in the marriage.
Filing for divorce first can also help ensure your marital property and assets are protected. In Pearland, you will need to present information about your income, assets, and debts, along with an inventory of marital property, when filing a divorce petition through the Brazoria County court . Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for a spouse to attempt to hide or destroy assets if he or she suspects a divorce is imminent.
Once you file for divorce, a restraining order can be put in place. This prevents, by court order, your spouse from draining accounts, running up debts, or taking other actions that could hurt you in any eventual property settlements.
When dealing with marital problems that could eventually land you in divorce court, you need an experienced divorce attorney on your side to ensure you are protected. To request a consultation with John Powell III, P.C. to discuss your case, reach out and contact our Texas divorce attorney today.