While there are no specific written penalties for waiting to file for a divorce, it is to your benefit to file as soon as you know the marriage is going to end. There are a number of different advantages that come with filing for a divorce before your spouse that should be noted when considering when you should file.
The person who files for a divorce first gets to select which county your divorce will be heard. This can be a huge convenience if you and your spouse live in separate counties. If you file first, your spouse will be forced to be the one who travels to the county you live in.
The first spouse to file the divorce chooses the county the divorce is brought in
Another advantage to filing first is that you will be heard first in most hearings, court proceedings and mediations. This advantage will let you calmly make your case without having to defend yourself against your spouse’s claims. Also, courts will provide time to the party who files a chance to respond to the other party’s claims.
Perhaps the biggest advantage to being the one who files for a divorce first is when children are involved. The party that files can also file for a preservation of the status quo of the children’s residence, schedule, daily routine, and parenting time until further order of the court. This prevents the other parent from dramatically altering the daily life of your children.
Filing your divorce also stops your spouse from selling or otherwise getting rid of your marital assets. This means, in most cases, that your spouse will not be able to sell any marital assets until after the divorce has been completed and the marital assets have been divided up between each spouse.
In most cases once the divorce is commenced, both spouses are prohibited from selling marital assets