Should I File for Divorce First, or Wait And Let my Spouse do it? (Pt 1)

The idea that it matters who files first is an EXTREMELY common misconception. But ultimately it is unlikely to make a difference in your case whatsoever.

Many people, when they’re considering divorce, feel that they need to rush into the decision in order to get a jump on their spouse. “I wouldn’t want them to file first!” they think. But ask yourself, why do they think that? What reason would someone have for wanting to be the first one to file for divorce? Are there benefits to being the first person to file? Does it affect the outcome of your divorce in some arcane way? Why would people even think that? These are questions we get often, and so we’d like to answer them for you today.

Some of the problem stems from wording, like ‘defendant’

When someone files for divorce, they are listed as the ‘plaintiff’ and the spouse they’re trying to divorce is called the ‘defendant’. And that right there is part of the issue. The word ‘defendant’ conjures a mental image of someone in handcuffs and an orange jumpsuit. Someone who’s been accused of a crime. Someone who did something wrong.

No one wants to be the defendant in a case, so some people are concerned that not filing first will make them look like the ‘bad guy.‘ The truth is, those are really just words. In a divorce, being the defendant doesn’t reflect badly on you at all, and doesn’t lead the judge to believe that you’re guilty of anything. It’s simply the term used in this case. So put your mind at ease – being first to file doesn’t make you the ‘good guy’ and more than it casts your spouse in a bad light.

If you don’t want to get divorced then don’t make empty threats.

Something we think is important to mention, is the issue of empty threats. If you’re not really looking to get divorced, then don’t threaten it, or file for divorce, hoping that your spouse will “get their act together” and beg for you to come back. Sometimes these things don’t work out in your favor, like when your spouse agrees with you and then you can’t take back what you’ve started!

Also, if you hire an attorney and file for divorce, and then change your mind, you still have to pay your attorney for their time. The fact that the divorce plan didn’t come to anything doesn’t mean you’re off the hook for your attorney’s bill. And sometimes the divorce process uncovers facts and details about your life that you’d rather keep private. (Which can be embarrassing.) So remember this important advice: only file for divorce when you’re really, actually planning on going through with it!

If you decide it’s time to call it quits, make sure you get the right help!

Deciding it’s time to get divorced is a big decision. So if you’re there, and you’ve decided you’re ready to end your marriage and move on, you’re going to need help from the best. Here at The Kronzek Firm, we’ve been helping the people of Michigan with their divorces for decades.
Whether it’s custody concerns, alimony, asset division or child support, we’ve got you covered. If that sounds like your situation, call 866 766 5245. Our skilled family law attorneys are standing by, night and day, to help. And be sure to join us next time for more pointers to consider when you’re trying to decide when to file for divorce.