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Should I File for Divorce First?

I'm trying to figure out if there is any strategic advantage to being the first one to file for a divorce. My husband was abusive, and I know there will be a fight over our child. This past week, we jointly discharged bankruptcy from debt he secretly accumulated during a 9-year marriage. I've lost everything and now want to make sure I'm protected. Does filing first give you jurisdictional advantage or any other pluses?

by Narniaprincess   102 Posts 
Posted on 4/5/2011 12:53 PM
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Kentucky legal questions on divorce360.com

Tags: filing , custody , domestic abuse

Answers for "Should I File for Divorce First?"  (3) (You must be logged in to answer)

Thank you for the replies.Yes, actually I do have nearly a year of therapist counseling, once every two weeks for the past 10 months ... and records of a protection from abuse order that lasted for 6 months following my escape. I left after an incident in which a plate was smashed next to my head and a frying pan came down as well. So although I didn't sustain physical injuries, I do have opinions from the therapist, victim's advocate and attorney that my life and my child's life were in danger.That said, you can't really prove "emotional abuse" in court, and barring photos of bruises or x-rays of broken bones, I understand what you're saying. I guess for my peace of mind I'll file first so that I can be proactive, as Julie said. It's been a messy year, but I'm rebuilding and at least free from the person I think of as my "prison guard." Thank you.
by Narniaprincess   102 Posts
Posted on 4/5/2011 5:06 PM

kentucky is a no fault state - it makes no difference who files first and his alledged abuse won't really be much of a factor.
As Julie stated, filing first gives you the benefit of somewhat controlling the timeline - doesn't mean he can't do things to stall or cause problems tho.
by spaznskitz   11339 Posts
Posted on 4/5/2011 4:56 PM

I'm not an attorney, but filing first puts you in the active role, rather than waiting for him to do it and taking a reactive stance. I don't think the courts care - but consult an attorney. If you had an attorney for the bankruptcy, get some names from her/him. My family attorney knows a whole lot of attorneys in the area, and gave me a couple of names - one of them was a good match.

"Abusive," if I understand our legal expert, spaznskitz, correctly, is a difficult concept, in the legal sense. Unless you have medical records and/or police reports or evidence from therapists, it's tough to use it as leverage in either the divorce or custody.

You might want to use MOSAIC, a threat assessment tool by Gavin DeBecker (google or get to it through Oprah's website). If you give the tool honest information, it'll give you an accurate assessment. A hotline for abused women can help you develop an escape plan, if you want help.

We're here for you.
by JulieG   5759 Posts
Posted on 4/5/2011 3:04 PM

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