In light of our last blog on modern divorce trends in the U.S., now is a good time to address this issue, namely whether it’s better for someone to file for divorce first or let their ex file first.

The Possible Upside of Filing for Divorce First

There can be benefits and drawbacks to filing for divorce first, depending on your situation, a Denver divorce & family lawyer explains.

There can be benefits and drawbacks to filing for divorce first, depending on your situation, a Denver divorce & family lawyer explains.

Although filing for divorce first will not give you more favor from the court, it can:

  • Help you get the process started – Is your ex putting off filing for divorce? Are you done planning for divorce and just ready to move forward? Or do you want to try to limit the divorce planning your ex is able to do now? If so, filing for divorce first can be a smart strategic move, as it allows you to start the process and will require that your ex responds within a distinct time frame.
  • Let you protect future earnings or endeavors – Are you going to get a raise or bonus soon? Or are you planning on starting a business? If so, filing for divorce first means that you can officially set a date on which your income (and other acquired assets or new endeavors) will generally not be considered to be marital property.
  • Give you more control of where the divorce will proceed – This can come into play if couples have met the residency requirements in at least two states and filing for divorce in one would be preferable over the other (possibly due to, for instance, the community property laws). By filing first, you may be able to keep divorce proceedings in a state where the laws may be more favorable to you and your needs.

The Potential Drawbacks of Filing for Divorce First

Although it certainly won’t hurt anyone to be the petitioner in a divorce case (i.e., the person who files for divorce first), it can come with drawbacks in some cases, with a few of these being that:

  • Court records are public – So, there will be a public record of who filed for divorce first. For some people, there may be religious or other reasons that they do not want to be viewed as the one who made the first official move to end their marriage. This can be a potential drawback of filing for divorce first.
  • It may take more work to file for divorce first – This is because the divorce petitioner will have the task of detailing the issue(s) in the marriage, the issues in the divorce, etc. In contrast, a respondent (i.e., the person served with divorce papers) will only have to answer the elements of the filing that are at issue/dispute.
  • It may force you to deal with other issues sooner than you expected – While you may be ready to end your marriage, are you ready to deal with custody issues, decide who gets to keep the home and possibly negotiate support payments for the future? These issues can inevitably arise in divorce, and it can be a drawback to filing first if people are not ready to handle them.

Contact a Denver Divorce & Family Lawyer at the Law Office of Bruce H. Rabun, LLC

When you are to proceed with a divorce, you can trust Denver Divorce & Family Lawyer Bruce H. Rabun to provide you with caring, aggressive representation and the highest quality legal services.

To get professional advice and find out more about how he can help you, schedule an initial consultation with Attorney Bruce H Rabun by calling (303) 221-7899 or by emailing our firm using the contact form on this page. From our office in Centennial, we represent people throughout the Denver metro areas, Arapahoe County, Douglas County and Jefferson County.

Categories: Planning/Preparing for Divorce