Divorce - Does It Matter Who Files First?

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

    People sometimes wonder whether they gain an advantage by filing first in a divorce situation.

    In some cases, the answer is yes.

    If you and your spouse live in different counties, it can be a big advantage to have the case heard in the county where you live.  

    Your lawyer is likely to practice there regularly, and to know the legal landscape.  

    Your lawyer is also not so likely to have to drive to a different county for court appearances - and to charge you for that time.

    A more important benefit can arise if you want to freeze the current situation.  This can be especially important if there are children, and if you and the children are living in the same house, and you want to preserve that status quo.

    It can be important if you want to prevent your spouse from taking the children and leaving the house where you live with the children, or even leaving the area.  It can also be important if your spouse has just taken the kids and left either the house where you live, or the area in general, and you want to try to undo that.

    Another reason for filing first can be if you are not sure when your spouse will file, or when your spouse has been saying for a considerable period of time that he or she will be filing soon.  Bringing an end to the uncertainty can be important.