Filing First: Getting a Head Start in the NY Divorce Race
If you’re considering divorce, then it is highly recommended that you don’t wait for your spouse to make the first move. Divorce can be a time consuming endeavor, and filing first will give you an advantage when it comes to filing documents and making major decisions. In other words, the ball will be in your court if you start a divorce before your spouse.
In 2010, New York became a “no-fault” state. This means that a plaintiff no longer needs to cite a reason for filing for divorce. Prior to 2010, a plaintiff was required to cite grounds for divorce, which could include adultery, abuse, or abandonment. Instead of citing specific grounds for divorce, a petitioner need only to say that their marriage has been in a state of irreconcilable breakdown for a period of six months.
The reasons for filing first since can appear vague at first; however, strategic advantages arise throughout New York divorce proceedings.
Filing First as a Tactical Move
In highly contentious divorces, filing first is a very important tactical move that will give you the upper hand throughout the proceedings. The filing spouse maintains the power to withdraw their divorce action, and holds as the power to present evidence first if the case goes to trial. A judge will start forming opinions about a divorce action during initial oral arguments. If your attorney is able to argue their evidence first, then they will be able to present a favorable case before opposing counsel has a chance to speak to the contrary.
Filing first sets the tone of your case in the courtroom and gives you the upper hand by allowing you to surprise your spouse with divorce papers. An unsuspecting spouse can be a devastated to find out about a divorce. That shock and the initial feelings of surprise leave the other party behind when it comes to strategy throughout the rest of the proceedings.
You should definitely file for divorce before your spouse if finances or support are of concern. There is a nominal, one-time fee of $210.00 to file a Summons and to purchase an index number. While it may be an inconvenience to front the costs that start the divorce process, it is a small price to pay to help ensure your financial security.
In 2009, the New York legislature enacted Automatic Orders outlining the rules both parties must follow as soon as a divorce is filed. These Automatic Orders prevent either party from hiding or liquidating assets, or from purposely spending an exorbitant amount of money from either marital or personal accounts. The sooner you file, the sooner you can begin to protect your financial assets and marital property.
Commencing a divorce action before your spouse allows you to request Pendente Lite support and temporary child support. If ordered, your spouse will be required to pay this temporary support throughout the duration of your divorce, or until a final agreement is made.
Preparation is Key
Getting a head start on divorce will give you ample time to prepare and gather financial statements, property deeds, and other evidentiary documents that will be necessary to resolve your finances. Having copies of these documents at your disposal will result in less stress, and make the divorce process easier.
Let Brian Perskin Jumpstart Your Divorce
At Brian D. Perskin & Associates, P.C. , we always encourage potential clients to file for divorce before their spouse has the chance to. After years of representing clients throughout New York City, we know the strategic benefits that come with commencing a divorce action.
But what if your husband or wife has already had you served with a divorce Summons? That’s okay! With our extensive background in matrimonial and family law, we can successfully advocate on your behalf and help get you the settlement you rightfully deserve.
Regardless of your situation, don’t hesitate to retain legal counsel. Contact our team to schedule a free and confidential consultation with one of Brooklyn’s highest rated law firms.