Does It Matter Who Files For Divorce First?

 

People ask me whether or not it matters if they file for divorce first or not, and it generally does not. A lot of clients have the fear and the concern that if they file first, it somehow means they wanted the divorce or that the divorce was their fault. And that’s not the case. The person who files first is called the petitioner, and the person that files second is called the respondent. And the court doesn’t make a distinction between those two except for that one person filed first, and the other person filed second. Now, when you get to court -and if you ever get to court– the petitioner generally gets to present their evidence first. But oftentimes, that’s not as big of an advantage as people think because as soon as the petitioner puts on their evidence, then
it’s the respondent’s turn. And the judge takes the time to listen to both sides of the case.