Does It Matter Who Files for Divorce First?
The plain answer to that question is simply this: no. A divorce process will go on just the same no matter what, especially if it’s generally a no-fault, mutual agreement divorce petition.
There are a few things, though, to know about the question “does it matter who files for divorce first?”. Why? Roles are assigned based on who makes the initial petition.
First Off, the ‘Petitioner’ or ‘Plaintiff’
Asking the question “does it matter who files for divorce first?” has some bearing when considering the roles and responsibilities of those involved in the petition. Firstly, the ‘Petitioner’ or ‘Plaintiff.’
That is the spouse who files for the divorce first. Once the divorce has been filed, it can’t be filed again by the other. At this time, the spouse who filed for divorce would be known as the ‘Petitioner’ or ‘Plaintiff’ and is then responsible for drawing up the Petition and possibly even the Marital Settlement Agreement.
Everything from property distribution, child custody, child support, and even alimony would be included in the document. In addition, the Petitioner must also have all the information on subjects in question: like the child(ren), the other spouse, their names, their addresses, social security numbers, everything.
The Petitioner is also responsible for making sure the Respondent (the other spouse) receives a copy of the petition to either sign or not sign.
That Brings Us to the ‘Respondent’ or ‘Defendant’
Asking the question “does it matter who files for divorce first?” really has no bearing on a Respondent that will simply sign the petition for divorce stating confirmation of receipt of the petition and additionally file a formal “response” to the petition with the court stating that he or she agrees with everything.
That solidifies the status of a “no-fault” divorce. There then the question “does it matter who files for divorce first,” well, doesn’t matter at all! Because both the Petitioner and Respondent both want the divorce to occur. There’s no real consequence differing between both parties.
However, a Respondent may have a problem with the petition and will file a “response” to disagree with a part or even the entire petition.
Then the question of “does it matter who files for divorce first” matters in a big way. If a Respondent knows that a divorce petition may be coming, he or she can try to get an upper hand and file first and set the provisions and stipulations, leaving the other facing the responsibility to respond and contest the divorce.
But in the Long Run…. It Doesn’t Matter!
The divorce process goes on normally, no matter who files first. Both parties remain on equal terms in the legal system, and no one suffers any loss whatsoever.
What needs to be clear, though, are the roles that are assigned. ‘Petitioner’ and ‘Respondent.’ This is typically important when the divorce is not a “no-fault” but a “fault” as technically the Respondent would be the object of “fault.”
Of course, again, the Respondent can file first even when at fault in the marriage and depending on the state may not receive any disadvantage in the divorce.