Who Files for Divorce in Georgia?
When things no longer work in a marriage, the next sensible thing to do is file for divorce to end the union formally. Initiating a divorce entails filing a Complaint of Divorce, which either spouse can do. This pleading is filed with the trial court, asking it to grant a divorce and award certain things to the filing party, for example, child custody and support.
If you’re considering a divorce, you may wonder if there are implications of being the first to file the petition. It would help to consult skilled family law attorneys in Alpharetta to assess the situation from a legal viewpoint. They can provide counsel on what to expect and how to prepare for the somewhat challenging process.
Is It Better to File for Divorce First?
Being the first to file for divorce may have some slight strategic advantages. For example, you get the opportunity to speak first at the opening and last at the closing if the case proceeds to a trial or temporary hearing. However, this should not be the only reason or motivation to file for divorce.
Experienced Alpharetta divorce lawyers highlight the following additional reasons why it could be to your advantage to be the first to file for divorce:
Allows You to Choose the Grounds for the Divorce
Georgia is a no-fault divorce state, meaning you can file for divorce without alleging fault on your spouse. However, choosing the grounds for divorce gives you emotional and strategic benefits. By choosing the grounds for divorce, your expert help for divorce cases in Alpharetta will be better positioned to gather the necessary evidence and build a strong case.
You Have More Time to Complete the Paperwork
Filing for divorce first gives you a head start on finding and copying the necessary documents to support your case. For example, you will have sufficient time to gather bank, retirement, mortgage, and brokerage statements, household bills, proof of insurance, and ownership titles.
With proper planning, you can have the documents organized in a secure location. You could upload them on a computer as electronic records to easily access them if anything happens to the hard copies.
Gives You an Opportunity for First Choice When Gathering the Required Professionals
Divorce can be one of the most stressful events you ever have to encounter. It can be emotionally draining, yet it requires you to be sober enough to make the right decisions concerning the many issues around the process.
Meeting with divorce attorneys in Alpharetta before filing for divorce is recommended to save you time and money through the divorce process. Finding the most qualified legal team to take up your case can be lengthy. Getting started early enough gives you ample time to prepare.
Consider looking for a therapist as you look for a legal team to support you through the divorce process. These professionals can guide and help you through the emotional turmoil of a divorce. Your kids might need this emotional and psychological support to deal with the outcome of your divorce.
You Reduce the Risk of Your Spouse Hiding Assets
Once you file for divorce, you and your spouse can only remove money from bank accounts or transfer assets with permission from the court. Filing first gives you an upper hand in protecting marital assets as you can request Automatic Temporary Restraining Orders (ATRO).
The court order freezes accounts to protect assets by prohibiting a spouse from transferring property rights, bank accounts, insurance documents, and other assets of interest during the divorce process. Filing for divorce first helps you ensure you have these protections before your spouse can hide assets.
Planning Helps You Put Your Emotions Together
Divorce is emotionally devastating, and while you may not want to think about it, you may not have a choice if it’s the only way out of a bad marriage. Planning gives you time to put your emotions in check to avoid being emotionally compromised.
If your spouse files for divorce before you, it may surprise you, and you may not be prepared for it. Without a hold on your emotions, you may make rash decisions that profoundly affect your future and your children. Anything you do in the wrong state of mind can be used against you during the divorce proceedings, harming the outcome further.
The Timing of the Divorce is Everything
The timing of the filing of the Complaint of Divorce may be crucial in some situations. For example, if you find out that your spouse is having an extramarital affair, you should decide if you want a divorce as soon as possible.
Waiting longer could make the court rule that the affair is not the sole reason for filing for divorce, and it would be challenging to make the cheating spouse suffer the repercussions of their behavior during the divorce action. Whatever the reason for filing for divorce, consult skilled Alpharetta divorce attorneys to help you determine the best timing for filing the petition.
A Skilled Divorce Attorney Protecting Your Rights During Your Divorce Process
Filing for divorce is no easy feat, and you could be paralyzed by indecision, wondering whether to file or wait for your spouse to make the first move. Avoid deciding on your own. Instead, consult skilled and experienced family law lawyers in Alpharetta, GA, to help you weigh the decision from a legal perspective.
Attorney Hecht provides legal counsel and representation for clients faced with divorce issues. Having been through a divorce, he has the experience and knowledge to navigate complex divorce laws. He also understands what it feels like to be in your situation and wants to help you. Call Hecht Family Law at (470) 291-5342 to schedule a case strategy with a dedicated legal expert.
For more information on Georgia divorce law, please see: