Does it matter who files for divorce first?
Once you have decided to divorce your spouse, the first step is for one of the spouses to initiate the process by filing official paperwork for a divorce. You may be contemplating if it matters who files for divorce first in the State of Maryland.
Because divorces can be difficult, you want to be sure that you are taking all the correct steps to receive the outcome that you deserve and hope for. Taking charge of your divorce right from the beginning can be a strategic move in some cases. A Howard County divorce lawyer can help you protect your rights as you work to finalize your divorce and move forward with your life.
Does it matter who files for divorce first in an amicable split?
If both parties agree and have decided to divorce amicably, then there is no advantage to filing first. The person who files first will be known as the plaintiff, and the person who is served the divorce forms will be known as the defendant. The term defendant may have a negative connotation to some, but in this instance, it is just used as a word to state that their spouse filed for divorce.
The terms do not hold any negative or positive meaning since you both want the same outcome. This is considered an uncontested divorce. Please note that the person who does file first is responsible for the filing fees and any other fees associated with serving the documents to your spouse. But do not let this deter you from filing the papers first, many benefits cannot be ignored.
Who should file for divorce first in contested and contentious divorces?
A contested divorce is different from a no-fault divorce in that it is when the spouses cannot agree on the specific terms of the divorce. For example, matters relating to any children you have or the division of property and money that you own together.
If you will file on contested or at-fault grounds, is it better to file for divorce first? In these cases, there are many reasons that it is a very good idea. Once you decide you will be filing for divorce, you should immediately begin to compile any pertinent information that will benefit your case.
This includes legal documents and a list of all assets. This will allow you to prepare ahead of time. You may have spent several months gathering documents and evidence. Once they are served the divorce forms, your spouse only has four weeks to respond. This may leave them feeling rushed to prepare themselves, giving you an advantage.
More benefits of filing first in a contested divorce
Another reason why it matters who files first is that the person who files first controls the timeline of the entire process. Once the divorce papers are filed, there are timelines and waiting periods within the process. Knowing when they will be allows you to plan well in advance.
You also get to explain your story first. This is a first impression for both sides and by controlling what the claims are, you force the defendant to respond to these claims. You take away their chance to make the first impression with their side of the story since they must respond to your claims.
Another advantage is that you get to control what you are asking for in the divorce. You will be able to list exactly what you are looking for regarding assets, child support, property, and debt. Once again, the spouse has lost their chance to be the first to list what they want and must use your list in response.
An important consideration in deciding to file for your divorce first is your peace of mind. The waiting will be over, and the process can begin. It can be an incredibly stressful time, and waiting longer than necessary can be taxing to anyone’s well-being.
Consult a trusted Howard County divorce attorney today
Divorce can be a complicated process, which is why working with a trained professional is always favorable. Coover Law Firm, LLC is the premier law firm in Howard County, Maryland. Mr. Coover is a caring and dedicated attorney who will guide you through your divorce process with ease and professionalism.
With many years of service in the Howard County community, Mr. Coover has the experience to fight for the outcome that you deserve. Please call (410) 553-5042 or complete our secured contact form for additional information and to schedule your confidential consultation today.