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When a man is strongly considering divorce, he often wonders if there are benefits to filing first. While many things in the New Jersey divorce process have prescribed timelines and deadlines, this question is highly dependent on the circumstances of each divorce. Here is some general information about the process and the upside or negatives about filing first.

Benefits of Filing for Divorce Before Your Spouse

Even if you have decided on filing for divorce from your spouse, there are some tactical advantages to keeping your plans a secret for the time being. Perhaps the most important reason why you should consider this approach is that you will have time to gather together all of the financial records you will need when we prepare the filing. Especially in a high asset marriage where there may be numerous investment and retirement accounts, real estate, and other assets, you can quietly collect financial documents without arousing suspicion. It may be difficult to do this once the divorce starts, especially if your wife is being uncooperative or you elect to move out of your home. Many high asset divorces are also high conflict, so you may be able to cut down on the conflict by filing first.

If resolving custody and visitation issues will likely be a serious issue, as a New Jersey father divorcing the children’s mother, you will have time to think through and decide what you want with regard to custody and co-parenting rights. Sometimes scorned spouses will use the children as pawns during the divorce, so solidify your plan for maintaining your relationship with your kids before you file. There are also some benefits not related to the law or the schedule of a family court. You can decide whether you want to separate when the children are in school or during one of their breaks. Some parents prefer to file for divorce in the summer so they won’t have to worry about getting the kids to school while co-parenting. 

Likewise, you can delay taking on any major, new financial obligations for the family or for your business. A divorcing man or father can use the time to open an individual bank account and prepare to cover the cost of his own apartment and the living expenses that will go along with the divorce. Finally, by preparing to file first you have the ability to decide whether you are seeking a no-fault divorce or divorcing on specific grounds. If she files first, you have to respond to what she raises in her petition regardless of how outrageous it might be.

The Process of Filing First

Once you’ve taken the time to gather your documents and retain any extra help you might need – appraisers, financial advisors, etc. – we can draft and file the court documents. Essentially, you have all the time in the world to complete this step as long as your wife doesn’t file for divorce while you’re preparing. If your spouse does file first, you will have to do all of this within a shorter timeline, since you are only allowed about a month to answer the initial complaint filed by your wife.

If you’re a man who’s planning on getting divorced, you may benefit from filing before your wife does. However, the most important thing to do, whether you’re filing first or are responding to the complaint your spouse has already filed, is to work with a divorce lawyer for men in NJ who can help you gather the information you need for a positive outcome. Contact The Micklin Law Group to work with our divorce attorneys who focus on men’s rights to ensure men and dads get what they deserve during their divorce.

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