When it comes to divorce, things can get contentious. You have to worry about how all of the assets will be divided up and who will get custody and more when everything is done. If you and your spouse are considering divorce, it is common to wonder who should file for divorce first.
Either spouse can file for divorce first, explains a Des Moines family law and divorce firm, O’Flaherty Law of Des Moines. The spouse who files though will have a choice on the county to file the paperwork when to file, and you will get to present the case first if the divorce has to go to trial. Being on the ball with filing gives you more time to pick the lawyer you would like to use and can provide the filer with time to get additional support for them and the kids.
While both partners do have rights when it comes to divorce and it often works out best for both if they are willing and able to work together during the divorce proceedings, there are benefits to choosing to be the first one to file for divorce. Let’s take a closer look at some of the benefits of filing for divorce first.
Who Files for Divorce First?
It is possible for either of the two spouses to file for divorce when the marriage has ended. This is a sign that both parties are ready to end things and move on, but someone has to do the filing first. While it may seem heartless, there are some benefits to being the first one to file for a divorce. These benefits include:
Choose Where to File
You will need to file the paperwork for the divorce somewhere and the spouse who files for the divorce first will get a choice if the county and even state to file the paperwork. You won’t be able to file in a random location so make sure to check that you look at the requirements for filing in that jurisdiction. But if choosing a specific county or state would help your case, being the first to file can help.
Choose When to File
The spouse who files for divorce first will be the one who will get to choose the exact timing of the filing, which will then get the clock started on the whole process. For those who are first to file, you will have more time to complete all of the due diligence without time constraints, which is something the other party will have. As soon as you file, there will be dates set for hearings, discovery, and mediation before trial, which puts the other, non-filing spouse on a clock.
The spouse who works on the divorce first will have more time to bring their evidence and get it all organized before the clock starts. They can have it taken to their lawyer and ready to go before the other spouse has a chance to even find representation. This can put them at a unique advantage during the hearing.
First to Present
It is best if a divorce is settled outside of trial. This can save both parties a lot of time and money through the process. This is not always possible though. If you do need to go to trial, you get an added benefit if you were the first to file; you will get to present the case first. You may find that this is beneficial to your case, but you will need to discuss it with your attorney first.
First Pick of Attorneys
Since you are not on a time crunch, you will be able to find the best attorney to help with your case. You can do some research and talk to several different attorneys to see who would be the best for your divorce. You can get one of the best before your spouse is able to determine who will help them through this. Divorce is stressful and can drain out emotions. You need to make sure that you can find someone who will take care of you during the whole process.
Gather and Plan
If you are the spouse who files for divorce, you are basically giving yourself time to plan and get things ready. You will not have to worry about being emotionally compromised because the divorce was a shock out of nowhere. And you have time to gather all of the necessary paperwork and proof you will need. This can help you out through the divorce.
Handling Your Divorce
Regardless of who decides to file for divorce first, it is important to find the right legal counsel and to know all of your options ahead of time. With a good attorney and an open mind on how to handle some of the issues that come with divorce, both parties can save time, money, and still get what is most important to them.