August 18,2021

Divorce, Family Law

Does It Matter Who Files for Divorce?

HomeBlogDivorceDoes It Matter Who Files for Divorce?

Many people wonder if they should file for divorce before their spouse does in an attempt not to miss out on some presumed strategic advantage, but this is generally the wrong focus to adopt. A divorce is a monumental decision that should never be made in haste, and if you aren’t sure that it’s the right answer for you, you should not be thinking about filing first. If, on the other hand, you have made the difficult decision that a divorce is your best choice, then it is a good time to consult with an experienced Oak Brook divorce attorney and to move forward with filing for divorce. 

If You File First

If you file for divorce first, it makes you the petitioner in the case, and it makes your spouse the respondent (who will respond to your filing). These titles replace the older, stuffier, and far more oppositional terms of plaintiff and defendant. In the end, these titles simply identify your roles in the divorce case and will have no significant bearing on your case, which is very likely to settle in the first place. One nominal advantage to filing first is that you will choose the county in which you file, and you have the choice of either the county that you live in or the county that your spouse lives in (if they are not the same). Generally, the best strategy is to file in the county that is most convenient for everyone involved.  

Important Financial Documents

To obtain fair divorce terms that protect your financial rights, you’re going to need documentation of your marital finances, and this is one advantage that filing first may allow you. Consider the following:

  • If you are preparing to file, it’s a good time to begin compiling your financial documents and making copies of them for your divorce attorney. 
  • Gathering these documents before the melee that typically accompanies divorce begins can help put you ahead of the curve on the matter.
  • If your spouse wants to make your divorce as complicated, lengthy, and ugly as possible, he or she may resort to withholding or even hiding financial documentation, which is a common tactic. In this sense, filing first – and getting your financial documentation organized as a result – can prove to be advantageous. 

Parenting Responsibilities and Parenting Time

The non-financial component of your divorce includes parental responsibilities and parenting time, which represent what you may think of as child custody. These will not be affected by who files for divorce first. When it comes to decisions that relate to children, the court is always guided by the best interests of those children. 

An Experienced Oak Brook Divorce Attorney Is on Your Side and Well-Prepared to Help

If you’ve done the soul searching and have come to the difficult decision that you need a divorce, Cameron H. Goodman at Goodman Law Firm in Oak Brook, Illinois, is a well-respected divorce attorney who understands the serious nature of your situation and has the experience and legal insight to help you. To learn more, please don’t wait to contact us today.


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