As an Oakland County divorce attorney one of the questions I am asked the most is “Should I file first”. Many times the answer to this question is that it does not matter who files first. However there are some tactical advantages to being the first to file in a divorce situation. I will discuss some of the more common advantages:
- If there is a choice to make of where to file the divorce, the first to file will typically be the party who gets to make that decision.
- You may have the opportunity to get some initial Orders signed by the Judge upon filing. Examples include Orders preventing a spouse from depleting marital accounts, Orders for initial child custody (very rare), Orders for attorney fees, Orders for exclusive use of the marital home. Any Orders signed upon the filing of the Complaint are also subject to the Objections of the other side, however until the Objections are heard the Orders stand. On the other hand being the first to file deprives the other party of the opportunity to obtain such Orders without a hearing.
- The first person to file often times has the opportunity to get their finances in Order and secure copies of documents which may become useful in the case down the line.
- Being the first to file gives a person the opportunity to get their legal team and advisors in place before the litigation begins, thus avoiding the potential for “knee jerk” reactions at the start of the litigation.
- The first party to file often has an easier time securing the funds for a retainer to hire a lawyer.
- When your are the first person to file you may be eliminating your spouse’s opportunity to hide marital assets and money.
- When you are the first to file for a divorce you have the opportunity to set the tone for how the litigation shall proceed.
Whether or not to file first is a personal decision. If you and your spouse are working together in an attempt to obtain a divorce it truly may not matter who files first. If you are having a difficult time trusting your spouse and you believe a divorce in imminent it is probably in your best interest to be the first to file your divorce.
If you find yourself in a situation where you believe a divorce is imminent contact The Law Office of Michael E. Thomas PLLC at 248-855-6477 for a free consultation. Find out how we can best help you in your Oakland County, Macomb County, or Wayne County divorce.