Divorce – Does It Matter Who Files First?

Clients often ask the question, “Does it make a difference who files for divorce first?” Regardless of the circumstances, the answer to the question is always “Yes.”

Sometimes, the client does not want the divorce. They are seeking representation because their spouse has expressed that they want a divorce. Other times, the client is seeking legal representation because their spouse has had an affair or other reconcilable differences have arisen. Then, there are times when the client has not told their spouse about their decision to file for divorce – most of the time, they are uncertain and have questions they want to ask before they file.

Whether the client wants the divorce or not, the best way for the client to ensure that the outcome of the divorce is somewhat favorable for them is to be the first spouse to file for divorce. In other words, they need to be the Petitioner. As the petitioner, you have the upper hand in divorce proceedings, regardless of the circumstances.

Why Does Filing First Matter?

Most people are told that it is best to file for divorce first, but have no idea why. Here are the answers to the question:

  • You get to speak first. Whether it is the initial hearings, the mediation, or the final trial, you may have the chance to talk first. This is an enormous advantage in divorce hearings. Whether you are talking to the mediator or in front of the judge, you get to be heard first.
  • You will protect your assets, your credit, and your children. You might be the one who doesn’t necessarily want the divorce, but if you file for the divorce first, you will align your assets and children to protect them from what might happen if your spouse files the divorce. If you are the first to file divorce, your assets can be frozen to keep your spouse from transferring funds, for example. If you file first, your spouse will not have control over anything – and there will be consequences for any actions.
  • You may feel empowered. Whether you want the divorce or not, there is often something empowering about being the one to file first. If you have a definite feeling that your spouse is going to file for divorce, finding a divorce lawyer and filing first can be the first step toward emotional healing.

Of course, filing a divorce first does not mean that the divorce is inevitable. Clients are often surprised to find out that the divorce is reconcilable. In fact, filing first might be the thing that keeps the marriage together. If you are considering filing for divorce, contact the Law Office of Lauren Cain. Call 214-326-4664 to speak to a Frisco, Texas attorney who works hard to protect your interests and spends the time to listen to your concerns.