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Disadvantages of Filing for Divorce First in New Jersey


Worried woman

When a marriage is beginning to fall apart, people begin to decide whether divorce is their best option. If they do decide to divorce, they often wonder whether making the first move and filing for divorce is in their best interests, or if instead, they should wait to see if their spouse files.

3 Disadvantages of Filing for Divorce First

There are pros and cons to being the first to file for divorce. Because many people want to make the move and file for divorce as soon as they know their marriage is over, below we discuss some of the disadvantages of being the first to file.

1. Your Filing Will Initiate the Divorce

It may seem an obvious point, but if you file for divorce, you are really and truly starting the divorce process. Reconciliation will likely not be an option at that point. Even if your marriage is on the rocks, you should not treat filing for divorce as a race with your spouse. It is a monumental step to take, and though it may be the right decision, it merits careful consideration. If you are unsure if divorce is the right step, or if you are still trying to work things out with your partner, you may wish to hold off on filing until you can be more sure.

2. The First to File Pays More Divorce Fees

One minor consideration in deciding who files is that you will have to pay a bit more in filing fees at the front end.

  • In New Jersey, filing a divorce complaint costs $300
  • You will pay an additional $25 for a parent and divorce class if there are children
  • If you need to file any additional motions, it will cost an extra $50 per motion.

These filing fees are, of course, on top of attorney fees; you may owe a bit more of these as well given that your attorney will prepare your initial filing. This may be a minor drawback in the grand scheme of a divorce, but it merits mention.

3. Your Spouse Will Know Your Demands and Your Strategy

When you file for divorce, you will have to layout your demands and desires. Your spouse will see this when they are served with a copy of the complaint, which gives them the first opportunity to formulate a counterattack plan. The same applies for hearings: Typically, whoever files the petition will present their case first. Your strategy will be revealed, and the other side can adjust their case to better respond to your facts and arguments. This can be put the party who is first to file at a disadvantage when negotiating.

If you are considering divorce and need the help of skilled, passionate, and seasoned New Jersey divorce attorneys in determining your best approach, including whether and when to file for divorce, contact the Englewood offices of Herbert & Weiss at (201) 500-2151.

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