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Is There a Benefit to Filing for Divorce First in Tennessee?

Individuals considering divorce may find a benefit when they file first.

Individuals sometimes consider divorce for a long time before they actually file. Sometimes, while they are still considering the situation, their spouse files for divorce first, which could in certain situations give the spouse an advantage during the divorce proceedings. Although everyone needs to weigh their own situation very carefully, it is important to consider the timing of filing for divorce as soon as you make a decision that you want one.

Advantages to Going First When Divorce Goes to Trial

The majority ofdivorce cases settle out of court, but some do still go to trial. When this is the case, procedural rules for a trial allow the plaintiff – that is, the person who filed first – to go first to present their evidence and their arguments to the court. Depending on the judge, the first impression can make a difference when you’re striving for a successful outcome in court.

The Ability to Prepare Properly

Divorces involve a lot of paperwork, and you will have to collect quite a bit of it for your divorce. You will need financial statements, tax paperwork, mortgage paperwork, and perhaps other evidence if you have accused your spouse of wrongdoing, such as receipts for money spent on an affair. Filing first can mean that you have the time you need to prepare better and collect the right evidence in a proper manner. If you are the one who is served with divorce papers, getting prepared and collecting this documentation can feel like a scramble or you may find your spouse has already squirreled away documents, and this can be mitigated if you filed first. Part of being properly prepared also means that you can start the divorce process when you are financially prepared to do so.

Possibility to Dismiss the Case

There are times when a spouse files for divorce and after a lot of talking and working things out, the couple decides to give the marriage another try. To do that, the person that filed the divorce can dismiss the case; however, if a counter-complaint has been filed, the second spouse would also need to dismiss their counter-complaint or the divorce can continue to proceed on the counter-complaint. If you do not file first, you will never have the option to voluntarily dismiss the case even if you do not want to get a divorce. (However, I would not advise filing first just so you have the option to dismiss the case later, as that would not be a very good way to handle your relationship with your spouse on a practical level.)

Standing Orders

When you file for divorce first, this will cause injunctions to go into effect pursuant to State law. These injunctions include prohibitions against making changes to beneficiaries on life insurance policies and retirement accounts, draining bank accounts, selling off assets, or making certain other financial moves. These injunctions also include other things that the spouses cannot do while the divorce is pending. Having the injunctions in effect is important when the spouse that wants to file suspects that their spouse will try to hide assets during the divorce. Filing first also gives the opportunity to request an ex parte temporary restraining order which would be served on the spouse along with the complaint for divorce, in order to minimize damage that would most likely happen otherwise.

Want to File for Divorce? This Tennessee Divorce Lawyer is Here to Help

Filing for divorce is never easy, but there may be advantages to filing before your spouse does. If you are considering divorce, call me, Judy A. Oxford, Franklin divorce lawyer. I can walk you through the process and work with you to help try to secure the fair resolution that you deserve. To get started, call (615) 791-8511 today or contact me online to schedule a consultation.