Does it matter who files for divorce first pros and consIf you’ve ever asked yourself “Does it matter who files for divorce first?” then you should know the advantages and drawbacks of doing that.

It is crucial to comprehend the potential effects of filing for divorce on your circumstance. That may help you make the best choice, which may be to delay and let your partner file in place of you.

This complete guide will help you consider whether or not to start the divorce procedure first.

Is It Important to File for Divorce First?

Although it might sometimes be advantageous to file for divorce first, this is not a generalization that holds true for all divorces. Divorce petition filing can be a challenging choice, and no matter who files for it first, both spouses will have to undergo similar experiences.

What Are the Benefits of Filing for Divorce First?

The first petitioner gains a modest procedural advantage in the divorce because they filed the initial paperwork — they have the choice to try to file for an amicable, uncontested divorce and begin the process with negotiations.

Here are the advantages of filing for divorce first.

– Setting the Tone for the Divorce Process

Being first will give you a little more control over the situation, similar to how a tennis serve is held. You decide when to throw the ball across the net. You can choose when the divorce is filed if you file first. As long your spouse hasn’t submitted a response, you have the option of calling off the divorce.

You may call off the divorce up until your spouse submits a response to your complaint. You become the plaintiff and your spouse becomes the defendant when you file first. If your divorce case proceeds to trial, you will be able to speak first.

The divorce petitioner’s explanation of the grounds for the divorce is contained in the initial divorce petition. The court will learn about the matter for the first time from the allegations in the petition, which will also provide the court a first image of the relationship that is ending.

– Gathering Evidence Early

Early preparation for divorce gives you the chance to choose your support network and gives you time to locate and copy the necessary paperwork, such as mortgage statements, bank, brokerage, and retirement account statements, household bills, titles of ownership, and insurance documentation.

Make sure that all of your documentation is arranged and stored securely as you make these preparations. Use a computer and storage device that only you have access to if you have electronic records or intend to scan paper documents.

– Choosing the County Where the Proceedings Will Take Place

The petitioner has the option of selecting the jurisdiction (place) for the divorce procedures as long as they adhere to state and municipal rules about where a divorce can be filed. To prevent one spouse from purposefully filing for divorce in a state or county that could favor that spouse more than the other, several states impose some kind of residence requirement.

For instance, before the court may accept a divorce petition, the filing spouse must have resided in the state and the county of filing for at least 180 days and 10 days, respectively.

– More Time to Prepare With Your Attorney

Acting first gives you the opportunity to select the local attorneys of your choice if your marriage has failed to the point where you’re considering a divorce. You can pick a divorce attorney who will fight for your rights and the most favorable conditions.

If your spouse has already met with a specific attorney, it would be a conflict of interest for the attorney to speak to you because they could learn private information during that session.

– First Opportunity to Request Temporary Orders

You can choose the date the court will hear arguments to set any required temporary order if you file for divorce first. Filing first can provide you some control over those assets if you find yourself in a scenario where you can no longer trust your spouse with marital assets like money or property.

While the divorce proceedings are going on, you can ask the judge to prevent your spouse from making any financial or business choices.

This can stop them from selling off assets, giving them away, or trying to keep assets that ought to be treated as community property hidden or “shielded” from the divorce process. As the petitioner, you can also submit a move to stop your spouse from participating.

– Going First During Hearings or Trial

Additionally, filing first entitles your counsel to specific trial benefits. The first party to file shall be given the opportunity to address the court both first and last. In most circumstances, your family lawyer will wish to file first if litigation is anticipated.

Although family court is typically lenient with these kinds of restrictions, they do set the guidelines for the decorum of the courtroom.

What Are the Drawbacks of Filing for Divorce First?

Having to pay the filing cost, pursuing reconciliation, and being required to show all the documentation are some drawbacks of filing for divorce before your spouse.

Filing for divorce first has very few drawbacks, but you might feel like the “bad guy” mentally and emotionally. If you choose to dissolve your marriage, you will eventually need to deal with the legal procedure of divorce.

It can be unpleasant to wait for a reluctant spouse to file divorce papers, which can affect your mental and physical health. Here are the disadvantages of filing first:

– Paying the Filing Cost

If you file first, you might be burdened with paying the initial filing fee as you must serve your spouse with the divorce complaint because you filed first. You will require a process server in order to properly serve your spouse.

Process servers typically cost $100 or less. Your spouse is not required to serve you with their complaint answer. All they needs to do is mail it back.

– Pursuing Reconciliation

Even if you are aware that your partner is thinking of divorcing you, you could still want to work on your relationship. If that is the case, you shouldn’t let the prospect of getting a divorce prevent you from reconciling with your partner. Once a lawsuit is filed, lawyers and other people with sway over the decision-making process are involved.

You will get divorced thanks to a divorce lawyer. You should seek individual or marital counselling and work on your marriage if you don’t want to get divorced.

– Showing All the Documentation

You submit the initial document as the spouse who is filing. This is known as a divorce complaint. In the divorce documents, you must be very clear about your demands. Your partner now has a list of all your requirements. Did you make reasonable or unreasonable requests?

In a negotiation like a divorce, you usually ask for more than you desire. However, if you demand too much, your spouse can become very upset. This can make your partner stand firm and refuse to compromise. Avoid being overly assertive when filing first.


– What Should You Do if the Other Spouse Has Filed for Divorce First?

First, do not become alarmed if your spouse has already requested a divorce. This shouldn’t be viewed as a procedural disadvantage. The perks mentioned above are only a few but your spouse filing first has no actual negative consequences for you.

You will still have the chance to present your case in court, and the judge will consider both parties objectively. This is when working with a skilled divorce lawyer will be quite beneficial.

– How To Begin the Process of Filing for Divorce?

Start working with a lawyer who can assist you to start the divorce procedure. You can also learn more about your alternatives and the kinds of judgments you will need to make.

Additionally, you can ask about concerns about matters like spousal support, child support and child custody and learn about any unique circumstances that might be associated with your case. The ideal initial step is to get in touch with a divorce lawyers.

It’s your case if you’re the petitioner. Your spouse files a response, and from there the process continues. You may go through discovery, temporary hearings, orders, and several months or years in court to complete the process.

Since it is your case, the court will probably allow your petition to dismiss it if you give notice and reimburse your spouse for the filing money (not their attorney expenses, just the filing of the case charge). When you re-file, all temporary orders are cancelled, and you must start over.


If you file for divorce before your spouse, it gives you more control over the matter from the start and may give you some tactical options to consider. There are no inherent rights you have over your spouse simply because you filed for divorce first.Does it matter who files for divorce first all you need to know

  • It matters who files for divorce first, though it has no influence on the judge. You could get legal expert guidance before filing for divorce first.
  • One advantage is that you may have a choice of which county, and occasionally which state, to file the papers in if the particular facts of your case merit it. You must fulfill a distinct set of standards in each state before filing.
  • Speaking at a trial first isn’t always advantageous because it gives the opposing party a chance to hear your arguments and prepare a defense.
  • The person who filed for divorce is referred to as the “petitioner,” and is typically regarded by the judges and commissioners first.
  • The main disadvantage of filing first is that you will need to pay the required filing fees for the procedure, which could be an additional cost for you.

You might be debating whether it would be preferable for you to initiate the process or to wait for your spouse to do so. Thus, we hope you can make a legally informed decision with the help of this guide.

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Divorce & Finance