Does it Matter Who Files for Divorce First?

If you have decided your marriage is no longer working and are sure divorce is the only viable option, it is not unusual to delay seeking a divorce. There are many emotional, financial, and logical choices that make the average person hesitate when it comes to filing for divorce. However, it is important to keep your spouse’s feelings and potential actions in mind.

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They might decide to file first, a choice that could potentially affect the outcome of your divorce case. Often, the first fact news sources reveal when discussing celebrity breakups is who filed for divorce, since that information often sways public opinion. While the whole world may not be observing your split, knowing if it matters who files first can influence how you handle your own case

Financial Preparation

The person who files first is usually the one who is able to adequately prepare him or herself for legal action. This includes making vital financial arrangements. Whoever files first has more time to gather financial documents that may become hard to obtain once the divorce proceedings officially begin. Having access to certain funds and making sure your credit is in good standing can seriously mitigate the level of fiscal harm a divorce causes in your life. The person filing first is typically the most financially and mentally equipped for the expense of a protracted divorce.

Control Over Locations

If you and your spouse are no longer living in the same state, then filing first can have a major advantage in your case. Filing first means you are able to influence which court hears your case. Waiting to file places you at risk of receiving a summons from an out-of-state court because your spouse filed for divorce in a new state after establishing residency. The expense of finding an out-of-state lawyer and attending court can quickly drain any funds you were able to reserve prior to filing for a divorce.

More Time to Find an Attorney

One of the most important benefits of filing for divorce first is that you are able to carefully choose an attorney who is best suited to defend your rights instead of rapidly picking an attorney because you are dealing with a tight time-frame. Finding the right divorce attorney plays a pivotal role in the outcome of your divorce case.

Whoever Files First gets Litigation Advantages

In the end, a divorce is litigation, plain and simple. The divorce attorney you hire is a trial attorney. If the case is contested, filing first gives your trial attorney a courtroom advantage because the client who files first gets to speak first and last when presenting their case to a judge or jury. To an experienced trial attorney, that means a distinct advantage.

Stearns-Montgomery and Proctor

Even though there are numerous benefits to filing for divorce first, that does not mean you should rush to the courthouse to start filing decrees. Instead, consult a qualified divorce attorney who is able to advise you on the best way to proceed in order to secure your rights and marital assets. The team at Stearns-Montgomery and Proctor takes pride in the zealous representation we provide all of our clients. Contact us today at 678-384-8670 to schedule a consultation at one of our six Atlanta area locations.