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Many people come to me with a great deal of worry, saying it is imperative that they “file first.” As a rule, this is a misplaced worry, but there are things to consider and talk about. There are reasons when one should truly, “file first.”
  1. Asset protection: If a spouse has a concern that the other spouse is about to sell or waste assets, immediate action in court may be necessary. Careful examination of the assets of the marriage is essential in the initial interview to determine what action should be taken and whether court action is necessary.
  2. Personal Protection: Sometimes there is domestic abuse which requires emergency protection from the courts.
  3. Jurisdictional fights: When two or more states might have jurisdiction over a case, the person who files first may have obtained a very important advantage.
  4. Order of proof: Whoever files first gets to go first and last in the proof part of a trial.
  5. Emotional considerations: Sometimes a person just has to strike back at the other party.
Don’t panic about the issue of filing first, but do consult with a lawyer about it.