Is There A Benefit To Filing for Divorce First?
When one or both spouses have been considering divorce, it raises many questions, including whether there is a benefit to filing for divorce first. In the eyes of the law, it does not matter which spouse files first. There may, however, be a benefit to filing for divorce first for other reasons.
First to file decides the timing of the divorce
Whichever spouse files for divorce first decides the timing of the divorce. So that offers an element of control and provides an advantage. To begin the divorce process, the first step is to file a Summons and Petition for Divorce with the court. Your spouse must either admit receipt of the papers or be served with them within 90 days from the time the papers are filed. In Wisconsin, after filing for divorce, there is a 120 day waiting period before the divorce can be finalized.
Prepare for the process
Divorce is an emotional process that touches upon every aspect of your life, from finances to children and decisions regarding family belongings. Before you file for divorce, it is best to prepare for the process by getting yourself organized. Gather your insurance policies – life insurance, car insurance, and health insurance – and note the beneficiaries for each. Write down the account numbers of all of your bank and retirement accounts and make copies of tax records and property titles. Track your expenses and spending habits so that you have a clear sense of your financial situation as it relates to your life post-divorce. By organizing your documents and your finances, you will be in a better position when and if you choose to file for divorce. And – if your spouse files for divorce first – you won’t be caught off guard, scrambling to locate those important papers.
Wisconsin’s “no fault” grounds for divorce
Wisconsin is a “no fault” divorce state, meaning that couples are not required to provide a specific reason for filing for divorce, nor can one spouse legally place blame on the other spouse for causing the marriage to fall apart. If either or both spouses believe their marriage is irreparable, they can file for divorce in Wisconsin. A couple may also file for divorce if they have been legally separated for a period of at least 12 months.
Have questions regarding divorce in Wisconsin? We are here to help
Before filing for divorce, it is in your best interest to understand the divorce laws in the state in which you reside, including those concerning division of property, child custody, and child support. The experienced Milwaukee family lawyers at Bandle & Zaeske, LLP are knowledgeable in all aspects of Wisconsin divorce laws, providing compassionate counsel through every step of the divorce process. To schedule a confidential consultation with a member of our team, contact our office at 414-359-1424 or contact us online.