5 Reasons to File a Lawsuit for Divorce Quickly
The expression “He who hesitates is lost” may be applicable to your situation.
As a family law attorney practicing in Columbia, Howard County, Maryland, and in surrounding counties of Central Maryland, for over 30 years, I have come to recognize the importance of filing a divorce action quickly.
The following are reasons for acting immediately to obtain a divorce rather than remaining merely “separated”:
When a lawsuit is filed, the date of filing provides protection. If you are seeking alimony and/or child support, the earliest date the Court can order alimony and child support is from the date of the filing of your suit for divorce. Filing the suit also requires the opposing party to be served with the divorce papers. Service may be obtained in a number of ways. The best and quickest is through a private process server. If your spouse has moved and you are unaware of his/her new address, it may take time to locate your spouse and accomplish the service of process. Again, the date of filing the lawsuit establishes when benefits can begin and not the date of service of process. However, once suit is filed and service of process occurs, the parties may often, through negotiation, work out a settlement and save time, effort, and money.
You choose the courthouse. Let’s assume your spouse has fled Maryland or moved 100 miles away from your preferred court house. If your spouse has established residence outside of the state of Maryland or 100 miles away in Maryland, do you want to have the inconvenience, loss of time, and pay your lawyer more to travel further from your preferred courthouse? Also, do you want your local witnesses to have to have to spend more time traveling and lose a day or more of income (pay)?
If your spouse files a divorce suit against you after you have filed a lawsuit against him/her, but your spouse obtains service of process against you first, then you will most likely have to have the case heard in the less convenient courthouse in cases where you and your spouse live in different jurisdictions.
Many of my clients have expressed an unwillingness to file a lawsuit because “we can work it out” by negotiating a non-contested property settlement agreement. Another reason clients express for hesitating has often been that “filing a lawsuit will cause my spouse to become angry, upset, hostile and aggressive” and “that this will just make matters worse”. Actually, filing a lawsuit for divorce despite the negative thoughts and feelings of the defending spouse will often result in a quicker resolution. There are many reasons for bringing the parties to resolution and those reasons often include:
Your spouse will take you seriously;
Under the court’s management system, deadlines are set requiring each side to perform by certain dates and this avoids delays.
Courts may order mediation so that regardless of anger issues, the court-ordered mediator assists the parties to efficiently work out a settlement.
More often the costs of extended litigation are minimized.
The initial court hearing often results in immediate benefits regarding alimony, child support, and possibly attorney’s fees from the date of filing.
If you are contemplating a divorce action and you live in Columbia, Howard County and surrounding counties, or the State of Maryland, contact me, Fred Antenberg, for a free initial consultation at 410-730-4404.