File Kentucky Divorce First Advantage
One of the first questions I am asked as a Kentucky Divorce Attorney is whether there is an advantage to being the first to file a Petition for Divorce. The short answer is “It depends”.
There are certain advantages to responding to a Petition for Divorce in Kentucky Family Court. Those advantages appear when you are in Kentucky Family Court for the purpose of having a Hearing or Divorce Trial. If you are the responding party, you go second. That means that you will hear all of the evidence to be offered before you must put on your case. It is almost easier to respond than it is to carry a burden of proof in any Courtroom, including Family Court.
However, there are sometimes advantages to filing your Divorce Petition first.
Unsafe Situations which do not involve domestic violence
Are you and your family unsafe? If so, there is not usually any reason to wait to respond. Once you have a Petition filed, you may ask Kentucky Family Court Judges for protection. Without a filed Petition, there is no way for the Court to provide you with protection.
PLEASE NOTE: This does not apply to situations where you or your children are the victims of Domestic Violence. If that has happened, call “911” first. Once you are safe, go to the Courthouse and take out a Petition for a Domestic Violence Order.
Mental and Emotional Distress
Are you claiming that your spouse poses a threat to the emotional or mental well-being of you or your children? If so, then you will be asked “Why did you wait to file?”. There are often really good answers (such as “I had to save for an attorney.”). However, those answers can get drowned out by a suspicion that earlier action would make more sense.
Are you claiming that your spouse is hiding money (we call it dissipation of assets)? Filing first gives you access to Court Orders from Kentucky Family Judges. Those Orders may prohibit people or financial institutions from causing you further financial jeopardy.
Access to Accounts Cut Off
Has your spouse cut off your access to income? Are they the sole or majority wage earner? If so, you may not want to wait to respond to their Petition. Filing first will begin your access to spousal support (aka Maintenance or Alimony) and child support.
If you have questions about filing a Divorce Petition, please call or email me. My assistant, Melanie, will be happy to schedule an appointment. If you are not ready to talk, please feel free to check out my website or The Louisville Divorce Attorney or The Louisville Divorce Lawyer. As always, thank you for reading.