Divorces can get tricky. In fact, most of the time they are messy, time-consuming, and both physically and emotionally draining. Not to mention that it can drain your bank account fast, too.

The subject of divorce is also very sensitive. And, some of the important questions asked about the divorce process center around who files for divorce first. How does that affect things, if at all?

Below we take a look at the most common question related to this which is “does it matter who files for divorce first?” And, if it does, how that can affect the divorce process.

Does It Matter Who Files For Divorce First?

To answer the question, yes. It actually does matter who files for the divorce first. There are particular reasons why it matters if you or your spouse file for the divorce first. We’ll cover them below.

First, let’s just cover some jargon you’ll need to know to understand all this. The spouse who files for the divorce is known as the “petitioner”. And the person who does not is known as the “defendant” or “respondent.” Okay, with that taken care of, let’s look into this question more deeply.

The Benefits of Filing for Divorce First

There are definitely some advantages for being the petitioner spouse. The first benefit of being the petitioner is that you can file for the divorce in the state and county where you reside. 

The divorce process differs on a state by state basis. But pretty much all of them have residency requirements you have to meet. Basically you have to be a resident (often living there for 6 months or more) of the county/state where you wish to file for divorce. So, depending on your situation, filing in your preferred county/state may be beneficial to your situation.

Another benefit of being the petitioner is that you get to choose when you will file for the divorce. That means you are the one in control of the time and schedule.

In addition to that, filing for the divorce first will grant you more clarity as to when certain events such as hearings, discovery timelines, and deadlines for mediation before a trial will occur. This will give you a chance to prepare the necessary resources for your divorce. 

The last benefit of filing first that we’ll mention here is that you get the first chance to make an impression upon the court. This is because the initial divorce paperwork contains your (petitioner’s) statements about the divorce ground or the reason/fault for divorce. 

More About Filing First for Divorce

When you file for the divorce first, you get the chance to ask for temporary orders. If you are the divorce petitioner, you can ask the court where you have the chance to file for temporary orders before your spouse, or in this case, before the defendant gets notified of the divorce filing. 

However, we warn you not to be overconfident as the defendant may have the chance to respond to your temporary orders. Their response is filed before or during their response to the divorce petition. 

Being the petitioner also gives you the time necessary to prepare. You may get copies of necessary documents such as financial documents during this time. 

We have provided you with just a few of the advantages to being the first spouse to file for a divorce. However, there exist both pros and cons to this process, as we have mentioned above.

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