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Does It Matter Who Files for Divorce First in Georgia?

by Sharon Jackson  on October 14, 2021 under 

When a relationship fails, it’s normal to want to end things as soon as possible. Rushing to file for divorce isn’t a good idea for some couples, especially when there are many other ways to resolve their issues, such as counselling or mediation. However, for those in an irreparably broken marriage, filing for divorce does offer certain advantages.

Benefits of Filing for Divorce First in Georgia

Here are some of the possible benefits of filing for divorce first in Georgia:

It allows you to control the timing of the process.

If one party files the petition for divorce first, they can prepare extensively and do the following things at their own pace:

  • Apply for a bank account and credit card that the other party can’t access so they can still meet their needs while the divorce is ongoing
  • Retain the services of a properly vetted divorce attorney
  • Gather and prepare financial records and relevant documentation, including life insurance policies, wills, bank and investment account statements, and deeds or titles to property

In contrast, if you’re the one being served the divorce petition, you’re required to respond within 30 days to avoid being in default. You’ll need to move quickly to make sure that your rights and interests are protected.

It allows you to choose the grounds for the divorce.

Georgia allows petitioners to file for divorce without alleging fault on the part of either spouse. Although a no-fault divorce is possible in the state, choosing the grounds for divorce gives you an emotional and strategic advantage during the process. 

By filing first and selecting the grounds that apply to a particular case, the petitioner’s lawyer will be able to present evidence first and put the other party in a defensive position. 

It prevents your spouse from moving marital assets.

Once a divorce case is filed, by law, neither spouse is allowed to remove money from their bank accounts nor transfer assets without getting permission from the court. When one spouse waits too long to initiate the divorce process, they’re essentially giving the other party enough time to hide marital assets. By filing for divorce, the petitioner prevents their spouse from transferring assets out of the former’s reach or liquidating bank accounts. 

The petitioner can also request the court to grant a standing order. When a standing order is issued, it means that both spouses are not allowed to change bank accounts, make changes to beneficiaries on retirement accounts or life insurance policies, borrow against or sell community property, and other similar actions.

Contact a Georgia Divorce Attorney Today

Working with an attorney before filing for divorce can help you save time and money. An experienced and qualified Georgia divorce attorney can help you understand your legal options and protect your best interests.

Our team at Sharon Jackson will help you develop a winning strategy for your divorce case - including whether or not it’s more advantageous for you to file the petition first. Contact us online or call (678) 909-4100 to schedule a confidential consultation.


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