Should You File Divorce First? Right Lawyers Explains.

Posted: 11 September, 2019

One of the first questions all divorce attorneys get when someone comes in for a consultation is “Should I file divorce first?”

There are some minor advantages, but by and large, these will not make much of a difference in how the judge rules in your case.

For example, if you and your spouse live in different states, you get to choose where to file for divorce. Different states have different rules. Some states divide assets by equitable distribution, and some do equal distribution. You can select the state with the better rules for your situation.

At trial, the party who filed first gets to speak first and last. They also get to present evidence and call witnesses first and last.

Finally, the most significant potential advantage of filing first is that you get to choose the timing. You can gather all the financial documents and other evidence ahead of time. You also have a chance to mentally prepare yourself, whereas the divorce might come as a surprise to your spouse.

On the whole, these things are minor. Judges and divorce attorneys have to follow the rules set by the state so these will not become significant factors in the outcome of the divorce.

For more in depth information, read Should I File First?


Attorney Philip Spradling discusses whether there are advantages to filing divorce first.