A question that constantly seems to come up with potential clients is, “What’s the best time to file a divorce?” Unfortunately for this question, the answer largely depends on the person’s circumstances or the nature of the relief requested. Because there is no single answer that will describe the “best” time to file, this article aims to discuss some of the considerations that may influence your decision.
What Do I File?
The various items which may be filed in any given case are multitudinous. The answer of what is appropriate may be influenced by a number of factors, such as the type of case; the sort of behavior that is occurring; strategic choices; and/or the stage of the case. For example, if you have not filed a case, you would first need to file initiating documents to begin your case. However, if your case has proceeded for some time, you may wish to file other certain types of documents. There are numerous reasons as to why something gets filed, and we can provide no specific guidance as to what might be most appropriate in your case.
Where Do I File?
As above, where you file your documents is as crucial as what you file, if not more so. The location of where you choose to file your case will determine whether that court will possess the authority to hear the matter. If the court’s jurisdiction is improper, it may potentially (in some circumstances) prejudice your ability to obtain relief. Therefore, making certain that jurisdiction will be proper may be one of the most fundamental questions that must be answered before proceeding too far in your case.
When Should I File?
The answer to this question will largely depend on what it is you seek to file. As such, we’ve reviewed some broad strokes of when it may be appropriate to file various documents.
Petition for Dissolution of Marriage
If you wish to seek a divorce, there isn’t necessarily any “best” time to file a petition. Instead, when you should file is likely determined by the state of your relationship. If you have doubts or feel that you and your spouse may be able to repair your marriage, chances are a petition may be premature. However, if you are certain that your marriage can’t be saved and that you need a divorce, it may be appropriate to file your petition once you have accepted the consequences.
Petition for Allocation of Parental Responsibilities
A number of cases may fall under this umbrella category of “APR” actions. Therefore, there may not be a “one size fits all” description that will sufficiently address your situation. Speaking broadly, however, an APR action may be best filed whenever you feel that it is important to pursue the rights you desire. Often times, the best time to do this will take place during a period in which you still get along with the other party.
There is an abundance of other types of documents that you might file with the court. As such, there’s again no way to describe every possible scenario. Instead, there are some simple tips to keep in mind. First — be aware of your deadlines. Cases may be won or lost due to an untimely filing. Second — consider the strategy. There may be tactical reasons for why you would wish to file a motion or document at a certain time. Third — review the schedule of your case. Depending on the progress of your case and the pendency of something on the court’s docket, when you file may determine how quickly your filing will be handled by the court.
When you file may be as important as what document you file or where you file the document. There are so many different considerations involved in these questions, and they may have a considerable impact on your case. Because of the complexity of these issues, it may be worth your time to speak with an attorney. Here at our firm, we commit our practice to family law and we provide free consultations. So if you find yourself asking some of the issues discussed above, do yourself a favor and speak to one of our attorneys today.