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Does It Matter in a Divorce Who Files First?

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Jan 20, 2022

Does It Matter in a Divorce Who Files First?

Are you thinking about divorcing your spouse? If you are asking yourself, “does it matter in a divorce who files first?” you are not alone.

Just under 40 percent of marriages end in divorce as of 2019. So when the idea of a divorce starts to rear its head, it’s best to be prepared. The better prepared you are, the more favorable your situation might be in the case of complicated marriage proceedings.

That said, does it matter in a divorce who files first? We’re going to look at this question today, giving you some insight into how being the first one to file might affect your situation. Hopefully, the information below gives you some confidence as you move forward.

Let’s get started.

Does It Matter In a Divorce Who Files First?

What is the advantage of filing a divorce first?

Regarding which party gets preferential treatment, there shouldn’t be a difference in who files first. That said, there are some strategic advantages involved with filing first.

For one, the filing spouse gets to choose the court location. Depending on your area, there may be different jurisdictions that you can file in, and those jurisdictions might pose additional benefits to you. One example is the location of the courthouse.

If you live close, the expense and ease of getting to the courthouse for your divorce proceedings is a great benefit. You also can decide when the timeline of proceedings can start.

This gives you more time to plan things out with your attorney and choose the most beneficial circumstances for you. In addition, this can be a valuable factor in cases where the other spouse will be adversarial.

Who Usually Files for Divorce First?

It’s difficult to give a clear answer to this question, although it tends to be the one who is most dissatisfied or has the most to gain from a divorce.

In situations where there is a divorce by mutual consent, both parties file for divorce together and forego all of the problematic legal proceedings that come when one party doesn’t consent. In other cases, the person who files first has reached a clear turning point.

One excellent reason to file first is to ask for temporary orders. These are orders by the court to place holds on your mutual assets or assets. If you can no longer trust your spouse or don’t trust your spouse to be reasonable with those assets during the divorce, it’s wise to be the first to set those orders.

Is It Better to Be a Plaintiff or a Defendant in a Divorce?

In some divorce cases, the divorce attorneys choose to call the plaintiff a “petitioner,” and the spouse a “respondent.” Divorce is most often challenging and extremely hard in itself. Adding different terms beyond the norm just adds to more stress and confusion. At the Family Law Firm of Dalena & Bosch, we use the terms, plaintiff and defendant.

All things aside, when you consider the circumstances of the divorce and the nature of the individuals involved, it’s often the case that the plaintiff has a better chance of getting things to go their way.

Are You Filing for a Divorce?

So, does it matter in a divorce who files first? It might not; however, it could depend on how challenging your divorce situation is. The best thing to do is to consult with a professional divorce attorney.

The Family Law Firm at Dalena & Bosch is here to help. Contact us for more insight into getting a divorce, understanding the different types, and ways to improve the divorce process to achieve the best results.

Elizabeth Dalena helped me through a very difficult divorce and I felt working with her was like working with a friend you can trust! Beth, thank you for your professionalism and helping me through this difficult time.
Michael Mastrogiacomo - March 2020
If you’ve been searching for an honest and empathetic attorney...someone you can trust while you navigate the difficult and emotional world of family law, then do yourself a favor and contact Beth Dalena & Jessica Bosch. You’ll be so glad you did.
Par 5 Consulting - March 2020
When you are in the painful and often frightening process of divorce, the women of this law firm bring you confidence and security with their knowledge and professionalism. They exhibit that rare combination of the willingness to hold your hand like a compassionate friend and defend you like a piranha in the courtroom when necessary. They exhibit dedication, and the grace and wisdom of their long term experience. They look…
Cindy Morhouse - February 2020
These ladies have helped me several times in my experience with them. Jessica was my divorce attorney and I can say without hesitation, she was professionally and personally a gift to me. She handled my case (adversarial at best) with grace and knowledge. A fighter when necessary. She handled me in my personal state as a friend. Compassionate and kind. Beth assisted me with rewriting my deed after my divorce…
Scarlett O - January 2020
I chose Jessica A. Bosch to represent me because she was compassionate and knowledgeable. My divorce was a long and difficult journey. During this time, I lost sight of what was really important. Jessica kept me grounded and focused on what would be best for me after the divorce. I am grateful for her help in protecting two very important financial things that I might have given up. I didn't…
Cynthia R - December 2019