Does It Matter Who Files For Divorce First in New Jersey?

file for divorce first

If you suspect that your spouse is getting ready to file for divorce, should you rush to beat them to the punch? Filing for divorce first can seem like it will give you a big advantage, but it usually does not matter too much in the grand scheme of things. Whether you are thinking about filing or you have just received papers, our Bergen County divorce attorneys can help you navigate through this process.

Will Filing For Divorce First Give Me a Major Advantage?

Filing for divorce first can offer a few benefits, but none are really going to be a major advantage. It can be argued that filing first can allow one spouse to be better prepared than the other. After all, whoever files first had to gather together a lot of important documents and get ready to tell their side of the story to the court. If they serve their spouse with papers, their husband or wife could be shocked or surprised.

When you file first, you also get the opportunity to file an automatic temporary restraining order. An ATRO can prevent your spouse from changing the terms of any financial accounts or insurance policies. Someone served with an ATRO in addition to divorce papers also cannot do anything potentially vengeful or something that would affect their spouse’s finances, like taking out a loan against a shared property. An ATRO can also make it harder for a spouse to hide any assets.

What Should I Do If My Spouse Files for Divorce First?

If your spouse files for divorce first, you need to get organized. Gather together any documents that concern your taxes, income, and assets, including insurance policies. You should also be prepared to respond to each part of the divorce petition. Filing first does give one partner the chance to set the terms of the debate.

Do I Need a Divorce Attorney?

Having a divorce attorney on your side during this process is a good idea, whether you’re filing first or responding to papers you received. If you are the respondent, they can also help negate most of the advantages of filing first. They can help you find assets your partner has hidden, submit your own petitions to the court, and prepare all of the documents needed to make your case. This is why we say filing first is not necessarily a big deal.

Contact Our Law Firm Today

If you are looking for an attorney who can help you negotiate for fairer divorce terms, we are ready to assist you. Contact Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark and schedule a consultation with our team. We cannot make any specific promises, but we can tell that we will work hard to advocate on your behalf and help you make it through to the other side of this process.

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