When you have decided to end your marriage, you may wonder whether you should be the first to file divorce paperwork. Even when spouses make a mutual decision to separate, filing the initial petition carries certain advantages.
Consider these benefits of filing first when preparing to divorce in Georgia.
Time to prepare
If you make the move to file for divorce, you can do so on your own timeline rather than your partner’s schedule. Gathering financial documents such as bank statements can be more difficult after divorce proceedings begin, especially if the relationship becomes contentious.
When you plan to file first, you can gather the required funds for the divorce and your life after the marriage ends. You can also research attorneys and find the best legal representation for your needs.
Choice of jurisdiction
To file for divorce in Georgia, you or your spouse has to live in the state for no less than six months. If you submit your petition first, you can file either in the county and state where you live or the county and state where your spouse lives. One jurisdiction or the other may carry advantages for your situation.
Limited financial vulnerability
When you establish a separation date by filing for divorce, you escape responsibility for debts accumulated by your spouse after that date. You also protect money you earn after that date. Debts and assets accrued before that date constitute marital property and the court divides them equitably.
When you file your petition, you can also obtain a standing order. This legally binding document prevents your spouse from removing your name from accounts, hiding assets and selling or transferring property. Otherwise, he or she could limit your access to necessary funds.
In addition to these practical benefits, some people find emotional closure in the process of filing for divorce. Taking that first step often empowers the individual to seek happiness and health in the sometimes difficult days after a marriage ends.