Does It Matter Who Files for Divorce First?

Price Family Law
Denver Family Law Attorney

Divorce Timing Can Be Important

Is It Better to File for Divorce First?

When you and your spouse decide to divorce, the number of issues at hand are mind-boggling. Transitioning from two households to one, finances, child support and custody are all topics that may be causing you to lay awake at night.

Engaging an experienced and knowledgeable attorney, one who will be available to answer your questions and address your concerns, is critical to managing your divorce.

Experienced divorce attorneys can not only respond to questions like “Should I file for divorce first?” but also act on those answers.

The steps you take today help draft the blueprint for your future. While divorce signals an end to your marriage, it is also the beginning of your new life. Considering a divorce? Below are some of the benefits of being the first to file.

Filing for Divorce First: The Strategic Benefits

While life, in general, is not a race (we should take the appropriate time to make smart choices, learn all we can, and enjoy the little things), in some cases timing can be incredibly important – like when filing for divorce.

In general, the act of filing first for divorce may provide you with more control over the process. As the first individual to file, you (with the assistance of your attorneys) would complete and submit all necessary paperwork and provide your spouse with formal notification of your intentions. Below are some of the advantages the individual who files first may have.

Time Is On Your Side

Let’s face it, divorce is difficult, and in many cases, it is filled with animosity. When you file first, you have the opportunity to carefully review your current situation, including your financial position.

Additionally, there are myriad types of documents that need to be reviewed as the divorce process gets underway. The list of “important papers” includes, but is not limited to:

  • Financial statements from your bank
  • Investment documentation
  • Mortgage statements
  • Household bills
  • Insurance policies
  • Proof of ownership (titles to house, automobiles, etc.)

Keeping this information private and secure is important. Ask your Colorado divorce attorney how best to do this.

You Can Manage the Process

Filing first allows you to coordinate the timing of the divorce. Filing sets the process in motion and a calendar of dates is then determined. Perhaps it is better for your schedule (or your family’s, if children are involved) to manage hearings and filings during the school year when kids have specific responsibilities. Or, maybe you have a job with a very specific “busy season” (like an accountant during tax time) and you would like to avoid that time of the year because your schedule is simply overwhelmed.

Be Prepared

If you know your marriage is ending, being prepared is critical. Your financial position may change considerably — and if your spouse controls the money, you may find yourself in financial need. An experienced divorce attorney can advise you on what you should and should not do in order to be ready for the future.

Select the Location

Location may make a difference! Colorado law requires that you be a resident of the state for at least 90 days and that you file for divorce in the county in which you reside. That said, many divorcing couples have multiple homes, or may not even live together. If you are the first to file for divorce, you control where to file. Your divorce attorney can help you to determine the location that is best for your specific circumstances.

Present Your Case First

Of course, you would like to settle your divorce amicably, through the negotiation process. Quite simply, it is easier for everyone involved. But divorce is emotional, and the circumstances of each case are unique. In many instances, agreement on all issues isn’t possible and your divorce will go to trial. At this point, a judge would oversee the proceedings and make all legal determinations.

If you file first, your lawyer will need to present your case first. In many cases, this is an advantage, but sometimes it is not.

Speak with your Colorado divorce attorney to get advice on whether or not this is important in your situation.

Identify Resources

Divorce can be traumatic, both to you and to your minor children. In preparation for what may become emotionally overwhelming, it may be in your best interests to identify certain resources ahead of time. Professionals such as therapists can take time to select. Personality and fit are important, and consultations are critical. Or perhaps meeting with a financial advisor would be in your best interests. Understanding how to achieve your future financial goals based on your current financial position can be critical as you move forward as a single person and negotiate a divorce settlement.

Understand the Ramifications of Your Actions

When you file first, the information and direction from your divorce attorney can prove to be especially valuable. If you are considering a divorce, you are likely frustrated with your spouse and his or her behaviors. It is natural to want to vent, a process that can help relieve stress. Today, many of us share our thoughts and feelings on social media or even in emails and text messages to friends. Your attorney can explain the impact actions like this can have and direct you on how best to protect yourself as the divorce proceeds.

This valuable information can help you reframe your communication processes before the divorce and avoid costly errors.

Choose Your Attorney

Of course, even if you don’t file first, you do get to pick the professional with whom you will work. However, if your spouse files before you, and engages your “first choice,” you will have to move to an attorney lower on your list. You definitely want to have your own divorce lawyer, one who will look out for you and your future and protect your best interests.

Does It Make a Difference Who Files for Divorce First?

Price Family Law Can Help Determine What’s Best for You

The question raised above is frequently asked, and difficult to answer. As stated, there are benefits to filing first, but the best response depends upon the specific details that are unique to your relationship and your case.

If you are considering a divorce, contacting an experienced and knowledgeable attorney should be your first course of action. Divorce law in Colorado can be confusing and managing the process which is fraught with paperwork and dependent on specific timelines can quickly become overwhelming.

Contact Us Today

At Price Family Law, our team is experienced in managing divorce cases in Denver and the surrounding areas. We are well-versed in Colorado law and provide our clients’ top-notch legal service.

Additionally, we have a reputation for the way in which we work. Divorce is a traumatic event, and the entire process can be emotionally draining. Our attorneys understand and appreciate the stress you are under and are well-known for the empathy they bring to each and every case. No question is too small or too silly — we encourage our clients to reach out to us whenever they need an answer or advice.

Further, we recognize that while similarities may exist from case to case, your situation is unique to your relationship and family. There are always differences, and sometimes the smallest things can have the biggest impact. Thus, we listen actively, work tirelessly, and provide you the same level of service we would to members of our own family.

Are you wondering if you should file for divorce first? Contact us today at 720-615-1750 and schedule a free consultation.

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    Attorney Trista Price

    Trista McElhaney Price is a founding partner at Price Family Law, LLC. She specializes in high-asset divorce cases and legal matters involving complex business and financial issues as well as complex custody matters involving domestic violence, substance abuse issues, and mental health issues. Read Full Bio.