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5 Benefits of Filing for Divorce First

Grand Rapids & Ionia Attorneys

Filing For Divorce Attorneys Ionia Grand Rapids MI

Filing for divorce is like setting sail on a turbulent sea. You never know when the next storm will brew until you see the dark clouds gather on the horizon. For your survival at sea, you must have a seasoned guide on your journey to independence—one of our divorce attorneys in Grand Rapids and Ionia, MI.

While all divorces are different, your circumstances may call for immediate action. Your attorney can help you navigate the legal proceedings so you avoid the most common traps.

Here are some of the benefits of filing for divorce first.

1. Avoid Being Blindsided

Most people already know if their marriage is heading for the rocks. But you may still feel blindsided if your spouse files for divorce first.

If you suspect you and your spouse might be separated in the near future, we recommend that you hire a divorce attorney as soon as possible to explore your legal options.

The sooner you schedule a consultation with an attorney, the more prepared you’ll feel to file for divorce.

2. Gather Financial and Legal Documents

Does your spouse control the finances? If so, it’s especially important you have copies of financial and legal documents before filing for divorce. In an abusive relationship, one spouse may control the finances to make it harder for their partner to leave.

If you suspect your spouse is planning to file for divorce, get copies of all important documents now. It’ll be much easier to get ahold of these documents while you still have access to the family home.

Documents you’ll need include:

  • Bank and brokerage statements
  • Tax returns
  • Insurance policies
  • Wills and trusts
  • Retirement account statements
  • Real estate records
  • Vehicle registrations
  • Other important documents (Ask your divorce lawyer.)

Not gathering important documents before filing for divorce is one of the most common mistakes we see. Be sure to check out our blog post to learn about the other mistakes to avoid during divorce proceedings.

3. Assemble Your Divorce Team in Advance

The main advantage to filing first is that you have a chance to prepare. Depending on your circumstances, you may need an entire team to get through the divorce process.

In addition to an attorney, some of our clients also hire vocational experts, therapists, or financial analysts. For example, a financial analyst who specializes in divorce can help you prove that your company’s finances didn’t commingle with the family’s.

Related: How to Protect Your Business From a Divorce →

4. Ensure Access to Money and Credit

Do you have a credit card that’s just in your name? If not, now’s your time to get one.

Getting a divorce is expensive, especially if your spouse doesn’t cooperate. Getting a divorce can also indirectly lower your credit score when you start to divide shared accounts. For this reason, it’ll be much easier to get credit BEFORE filing for divorce.

You should also have checking and savings accounts in your own name before filing for divorce. That way, you can set up your paycheck to direct deposit to the new account—not the account you still share with your spouse. Otherwise, your spouse is free to withdraw your entire paycheck as soon as it hits the shared account.

5. Prevent Your Spouse from Hiding Assets

No one wants to believe that their spouse could hide assets. But a divorce can bring a lot of repressed emotions to the surface and cloud judgment.

The good news is that your attorney can ask the judge to order a Joint Preliminary Injunction once you file for divorce. This prevents both you and your spouse from selling, encumbering, or destroying any shared marital property.

Need Help Filing for Divorce?

Ready to plan your next steps? Call Peterson Paletta Balice to request a legal consultation with one of our divorce attorneys in Grand Rapids and Ionia, MI. You may also fill out our online contact form. Our team will listen to your side of the story and carefully consider the facts of your case to offer you personalized advice.

This blog post has been updated.

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