Does it Matter Who Files for Divorce?

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Does it matter who initiates a divorce claim? It can. In some divorce cases, the non-moving spouse (the spouse who does not file for the divorce) may face harsher consequences than the moving spouse.

Why It Matters

There are several reasons why the moving spouse may have an advantage over the non-moving spouse:

  • The spouse that files for divorce often controls how fast the proceedings move. 
  • The initial divorce paperwork contains the moving spouse's allegations as to the factual grounds (reasons) for the divorce. This may not be a fair representation of the situation, but it may influence your judge's views about the case.
  • The spouse who initiates the divorce may ask that the other party pay for half or more of the fees associated with the filing. This may not be fair, but it is often part of the process.

Should I Hire an Attorney?

In some cases, both spouses can come together and make tough divorce-related decisions on their own, without involving the courts. When this is not possible, the next best solution is to hire an attorney to help you negotiate with your spouse or your spouse's attorney. 

In nearly all circumstances, hiring an attorney to represent you in a divorce case is a good idea. An experienced family law attorney will work to ensure your side of the story is heard by the courts, and if you and your spouse decide to settle your case, your attorney can ensure that your rights are fully protected. 

Updated by: , Attorney

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