Does it matter who divorce first

Does it matter who divorces first?

Yes, it matters who files for divorce first. But it doesn’t mean you should be tensed if you don’t rub it first. Filing for divorce does have its benefits, but it doesn’t mean you have more control over the situation. 

The main benefit of filing first for divorce is you have a choice of which county you want to file for divorce. It is beneficial from the traveling side and some other ways as well. You can also start the time of the process. 

Once the lawsuit begins, the court will set the mediation’s dates, hearings, and timeline before the trials. 

By filing the divorce first, you will be able to predict dates. When you are aware of the dates, you can handle your work and preparations in a better way. When it comes to the scheduling of work and other obligations, you will be a step ahead. 

Benefits for filing for divorce first

Filing for divorce first gives you more control over the situation. The following sections highlight some of the benefits that come ahead of the curves. Here are some of the benefits of filing divorce first.

1. Home court advantage

As long as the first person follows all the state laws of when to file a divorce, he can choose the jurisdiction for the divorce proceeding. Some states even have residency requirements to prevent the intentional filing of a divorce in a state favorable to a specific person. 

For instance, in Michigan, only a person can file for divorce if he lives in the state for at least 180 days and ten days before filing for divorce. If your spouse is 100 miles away and files for divorce first, you must travel there for all divorce-related matters. In such cases, being late can cost you much money and time.  

2. You can be asked for temporary orders.

Benefits of filing divorce first

The spouse who requested divorce first can ask the court for a temporary order before notifying the other half. It can limit what the couple can do with the marital assets and protect one from the other, giving spousal support or temporary child custody. 

However, the non-filing spouse still has the chance to respond to the order request after responding to the orders. They can’t request any temporary orders till they file their response to the divorce petition. 

3. You can start the clock.

When you feel ready, you can start the clock by filing the divorce. If you are prepared to begin the process, filing for divorce first means you don’t have to wait for your partner. 

The court will provide a timeline for the divorce procedure, and your partner must act accordingly. They will have to move forward according to the timeline. In case they fail, you will have more control over the outcome. 

4. You will be the first to present your side.

The divorce filer has to submit the ground of the divorce and the related paperwork in the initial steps. It’s the first piece of information the court sees about the case. Besides, the divorce filer must be present in the first trial.

But remember that the con of filing for divorce first is that your partner can see all the things and arguments you have submitted in court. They will come prepared with all the answers. 

5. Opportunity to gather the necessary documentation

Early planning in divorce will help you select the right people for your support and have a headstart by finding essential documents that will help you in court. Such documents include bank statements, mortgage statements, retirement account statements, household bills, insurance proofs, etc.

While preparing for the court, make sure you have all the information secure in a safe place. Photocopy the hard-form documents and store them in any storage device you can access. 

6. Hinder the strategic movement of assets.

If your spouse has suspected a divorce, then they can act dishonestly. They may try to sell assets or move them to other family members’ names due to the fear of losing. 

Besides, you can significantly move to the combined marital assets when married. So, when you file for divorce, they will receive the Preliminary injunction. It will stop the strategic movements of assets, and they can only use the cash outside the standard moves to maintain their lifestyle. By the preliminary injunction, they will not be able to shift assets to others’ names, and if they do so, they will have to face the court. 

Significant misconceptions about filing for divorce first

Here are the two major misconceptions people have regarding the person who files first for divorce. Filing first doesn’t make you more righteous.

Regarding legal separation in states like California, separation is a “no-fault” case. Whether your spouse cheated on you or you two don’t get along well, such things have no impact on the child custody, child, or spousal support. 

Therefore, being called a petitioner or respondent will not hurt you. 

Related posts: What can be used against you in a divorce

Wrong Reasons to postpone filing first for divorce

  • Some people wait to let the other person file for divorce so the children can blame the failing marriage on that parent. It’s just a wrong judgment of the case from your perspective.
  • Suppose you have tried everything to make the relationship work, including marital counseling. In that case, it will be better for the children’s psychological health to live with two separate well-adjusted adults than in a toxic household.
  •  A parent should never badmouth their spouse in front of the children. Let your children know it was a mutual decision to protect everyone from the toxic environment and give you all a healthy and peaceful presence. 


Is it better to be the one who files for divorce first?

Filing for divorce first doesn’t make you the righteous one or inherit rights over the spouse. But it has some benefits, like it gives you control over the situation and you can attend the local court. 

What happens when a man files for divorce first?

Once you are served with the divorce papers, the court will hinder you from making big purchases or high expenditures. It can also change the terms of the family, life, house, or auto insurance. The woman will not be able to sell or transfer any marital asset in which her partner is interested. 

Does it matter who files for divorce first?

Usually, the spouse who files for divorce first has more control over the procedure’s pace and the court’s location. Filing first means you are well aware of the court timeline and process. 

When divorce is the best option?

If there is drug use, physical or mental abuse, alcoholism, the inability to overcome their past, or extramarital affairs, a divorce can be a favorable option. 


Every divorce case is unique, and the outcome depends on the many factors involved in it. Though filing for divorce first is more beneficial, consulting an experienced attorney and giving them all the related information will help you review the facts. 

Sometimes, you may want to be someone other than the first person filing for divorce. But a short answer to; “Does it matter who divorces first?” is yes. Though it doesn’t make you the right one, you will have better control over the pace and location of the court to save you money and time. 

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