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Should I file for divorce first? Consult an experienced attorney

Jeff Landers is a writer on divorce topics who frequently contributes pieces to Forbes. In a recent article, Landers discussed circumstances under which it might be advantageous to be the party who files first for divorce in a relationship that is headed for certain dissolution.

A point made foremost and immediately by Landers is this: Any party contemplating divorce should meet with an experienced divorce attorney without delay to discuss the matter. It may be cliché to say that every divorce is different, but that is absolutely the case, and a proven family law attorney with deep experience in divorce matters can help a person, as Landers notes, "obtain information about the law and gain practical insight about the process."

There may well be one or several distinct reasons for being the first to file. As Landers notes, one of those relates to finances. A party initiating a divorce will likely have made the time and effort to secure the services of a quality attorney and have other professionals on board as required. Important legal and financial documents -- such as savings and retirement accounts, wills, tax records, real estate documents and so forth -- can be thoroughly assembled and filed away before papers are served.

The filing venue can be of critical importance. States have different laws, rules and processes for adjudicating divorce issues, including, centrally, property division, alimony, child custody and support and other matters. Some states, for example, divide marital property pursuant to a community property regime. Others, like Georgia, have an equitable property division scheme in place.

Again, consulting with and obtaining the knowledgeable advice of a proven divorce attorney can be instrumental in effecting outcomes that fully promote the legal interests of a divorcing party.

Source: Forbes, "What are the financial and legal advantages of being first to file for divorce?" Jeff Landers, March 26, 2013

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