Who Should File for Divorce First | Divorce Guide

Divorce is a difficult and complex process that involves many legal, financial, and emotional issues.

Imagew of A Divorcing couple
Who Should File for Divorce First| Courtship

Many people who are considering ending their marriage may wonder if it matters who files for divorce first and what are some of the common questions that arise during the divorce process.

In this article, we will explore some of the advantages and disadvantages of filing for divorce first, as well as some of the frequently asked questions that divorcing couples may have.

Advantages of Filing for Divorce First

Filing for divorce first can have some benefits for the spouse who initiates the process, such as:

1.Choosing the jurisdiction

The spouse who files for divorce first can choose where to file the divorce petition, as long as they meet the residency requirements of that state.

This can be important if the spouses live in different states or if one state has more favorable laws regarding property division, alimony, or child custody.

2.Setting the tone

The spouse who files for divorce first can present their case and their requests to the court and the other spouse, which can influence the negotiations and the outcome of the divorce.

The spouse who files first can also request temporary orders for spousal support, child support, or child custody, which can affect the financial and living situation of both parties during the divorce process.

3.Being prepared

The spouse who files for divorce first can have more time to gather and organize the necessary documents, information, and evidence to support their case.

They can also hire a lawyer and plan their strategy ahead of time, which can give them an edge over the other spouse.

Disadvantages of Filing for Divorce First

Filing for divorce first can also have some drawbacks for the spouse who initiates the process, such as:

1.Triggering a response

The spouse who files for divorce first may provoke the other spouse to react defensively or aggressively, which can escalate the conflict and make the divorce more contentious and costly.

The other spouse may also hire a lawyer and counter-file for divorce, which can complicate the process and the issues involved.

2.Losing the element of surprise

The spouse who files for divorce first may alert the other spouse of their intentions, which can give them time to prepare and protect their assets, hide their income, or take other actions that can affect the divorce outcome.

The other spouse may also try to influence the children, the relatives, or the friends of the couple.

The spouse who files for divorce first may face guilt, regret, or resentment from themselves, their children, or their family and friends.

They may also face social stigma or legal consequences.

Here are some of the common questions that divorcing couples may have:

How long does the divorce process take?

Image of divorced wife
Divorced wife [PHOTO COURTESY OF DUPAGE]
The duration of the divorce process depends on many factors, such as the state where the divorce is filed, the type of divorce (contested or uncontested), the number and complexity of the issues involved, the cooperation and communication between the spouses, and the availability of the court and the lawyers. Generally, an uncontested divorce can take a few months, while a contested divorce can take a year or more.

How much does the divorce process cost?

The cost of the divorce process also varies depending on the factors mentioned above.

The main expenses of the divorce process include the court fees and the lawyer fees.

The court fees are usually fixed and depend on the state and the county where the divorce is filed.

The lawyer fees are usually based on the hourly rate of the lawyer and the amount of work involved.

The mediator fees are usually based on the hourly rate of the mediator and the number of sessions required.

The expert fees are usually based on the hourly rate of the expert and the type of service provided.

The miscellaneous fees include the costs of copying, mailing, traveling.

Generally, an uncontested divorce can cost a few thousand dollars.

How is the property divided in a divorce

The property division in a divorce depends on the state where the divorce is filed and the agreement between the spouses.

There are two main types of property division systems: community property and equitable distribution.

In community property states, the marital property  is divided equally between the spouses.

In equitable distribution states, the marital property is divided fairly but not necessarily equally between the spouses.

The separate property is usually not subject to division and remains with the original owner.

How is the alimony determined in a divorce?

The alimony or spousal support is the payment that one spouse makes to the other spouse.

Some states have specific formulas or guidelines to calculate the amount and duration of alimony.

Generally, the factors that affect the alimony decision include the income and earning potential of each spouse.

The alimony can be temporary, permanent, lump-sum, or rehabilitative, depending on the circumstances of the case.

How is the child custody decided in a divorce?

The child custody is the legal and physical arrangement of the children after the divorce.

The legal custody refers to the right and responsibility to make decisions about the children’s welfare, such as education.

The physical custody refers to the actual time and place where the children live.

The child custody decision in a divorce depends on the state where the divorce is filed.

The main principle that guides the child custody decision is the best interest of the child, which considers various factors.

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