Often, clients will ask, “Does it matter who files for divorce first?” Technically, no, it doesn’t matter. However, strategically it can. The person who files first, named the Petitioner, will set the tone. If adultery or misuse of money is alleged, then we know the divorce is going to be contested and perhaps hostile.
It is actually about $100 cheaper to file second. However, I find that if you are the Respondent, you are behind the 8 ball. When a divorce is filed, there are certain time deadlines that can cause stress. Within 45 days from the date of service of process, parties must give a lengthy amount of documents to the other side. Honestly, just compiling all of the documents can be stressful. If you are first to file, then in theory, you have already gotten those items together. At our firm, we do not generally file a Dissolution (divorce) unless the client has obtained all of the Mandatory Disclosure documents. (http://www.ferryandferry.com/for-clients-2/mandatory-disclosure-checklist/)
Filing first also gives you more time to plan your future, rather than being blindsided. Women are 2/3 more likely to file first. White women are at the top of that number. This is most likely attributable to increased wages that women are now capable of earning.
If divorce is certainly on your horizon, contact us to see the light at the end of the tunnel.