Anatomy of a Divorce Case: Phase 1: Filing for Divorce
When divorce becomes inevitable, spouses often start thinking about the end result of the divorce. Will I get to keep the house? When will I see my kids? What’s going to happen on my birthday? How am I going to support myself? Who keeps which cars? It’s natural when facing divorce to want to see the end result because the purgatory of not knowing can be excruciating. This article will explain broadly why these four phases – Filing for Divorce, Gathering Information, Preparing for Trial, and Negotiating Settlement – are important and often impact the end result of a divorce.
Phase 1: Filing for Divorce
Most people aren’t in a hurry to file for divorce, but they should be. There are reasons why the filing date on a divorce case may impact the end result. Here are some examples:
- The right to maintenance or alimony usually goes back to the date a request was filed, so if you want maintenance you need to file to protect your right to maintenance.
- For dividing up assets, sometimes the date of filing a case is used for the value of assets when dividing them.
- There are times when spouses can be legally liable for the financial decisions of the other spouse. If you have concerns about your spouse’s decisions, then filing a divorce starts the process of severing your liability and can provide you with a recourse.
- If you think your spouse has been spending marital money improperly, claims to be compensated or paid back for this improper spending are limited to five years before the date of filing. If you wait too long to file you may lose your chance to be compensated for something that happened more than five years before the date of filing.
If you wait to file your divorce case, you may lose or reduce certain rights and opportunities. While you and your spouse may be discussing the outcome of your divorce or you may think you need to wait to file a divorce, schedule a complementary consultation with us so you can better understand the importance of starting your case now.
Come back next week for Phase 2 – Gathering Information. If you have children, see our separate series on the Anatomy of a Custody Case.
Please contact the Family Law attorneys at Bruning & Associates, P.C. at 815-455-3000 to schedule your complimentary consultation to discuss your divorce case.
Click here to learn more about Attorney Laura Inns.