It doesn’t matter who files for divorce first

Photo of attorney Melinda L. Singer

If you are contemplating divorce and have already informed your spouse, does it matter who first files for divorce? It is a question many splitting couples have when it’s time to end this chapter of their lives.

No, it does not really make any difference who is the plaintiff or defendant in a divorce since you are not required to prove any wrongdoing. It will not impact the divorce proceedings in that manner. However, it may be advisable to file first:

You may have the edge if you go first

If divorce is inevitable and you are ready, there is no harm in going first. It could help you set the tone of the proceedings and request temporary orders from the court pending the conclusion of the divorce. Most importantly, you will be prepared with everything you need.

A lot goes on in the divorce process, from property division and alimony to child support and custody. It is advisable to be involved in every stage of the process and ensure you protect your interests. Filing first will give you that head start.

By instigating divorce proceedings, it means that you have planned accordingly, financially and emotionally. Divorce can be a costly affair, and it is necessary to set aside the resources for that. Likewise, emotions could cloud your judgment, and you might make rash decisions in the heat of the moment, so a considered approach is always helpful

How prepared are you?

The bottom line is that being prepared can help you get through a divorce more easily. If divorce is a real possibility in your marriage, you need to start laying your strategy as soon as possible. 

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