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Does it Matter Which Spouse Files for Divorce?

Does it Matter Which Spouse Files for Divorce?

Deciding to proceed with a divorce is one of the biggest decisions you’ll make.  Moreover, filing for divorce might feel like a daunting task, even if both spouses want a divorce. So, does it matter which spouse files for divorce?  The short answer is No. In the eyes of the court, both spouses are entitled to adequate notice and a chance to be heard and present arguments. Thus, from the Court’s perspective, it does not matter which spouse files first because the court is a neutral decision-maker. As a neutral decision-maker, the court will not give preference to the spouse based on who initiated the divorce action.

Although the Court doesn’t have a preference for which spouse files the divorce action first,  there may be strategic reasons for doing so. Discuss with your attorney whether there are advantages to you filing first. If there is concern that your spouse may transfer assets if they learn about your plans to divorce, your attorney might advise you to seek a temporary restraining order to protect you against such action, without giving prior notice to your spouse. Or, if you are separated from your spouse and have a temporary arrangement that is currently working, your attorney may advise you to wait until your spouse files.  

Whether or not to file first does not have to be a decision you make on your own. Let your experienced divorce attorney at Koenig|Dunne support you in this important decision.