Should I File for Divorce First, or Wait And Let my Spouse do it? (Pt 2)

Many people believe it makes a difference whether you file first, or wait and let your spouse file first, but the truth is… it usually doesn’t matter at all!

Welcome back. In our previous article we introduced the subject of whether it’s better to file for divorce first, or let your spouse file before you. Many people believe they should get a jump on their spouses by filing first, and last time we discussed some of the reasons why people believe that. In this next section we’re going to spend a few minutes discussing the pros and cons of filing first, and waiting to file. Let’s get started…

Why it would be a good idea to file for divorce first:

There are situations where it may be a good thing to file for divorce once you’ve decided to go for it, rather than waiting for your spouse to file. We’re going to look at a few of the more common ones here…

  • You are certain that you want the marriage to end, and your spouse isn’t. Waiting for them could mean waiting for months or even years until you’re both on the same page.
  • If you believe that you or your children may be in danger from your spouse, the sooner you file and start the process, the better. Although if you really do believe your spouse may hurt you or your children, talk to your attorney about a Personal Protection Order.
  • If you and your spouse can’t seem to agree on issues like child custody or asset division, filing first would put you both in a position where you’ve forced your hands, and you both have to begin negotiations.

Why it wouldn’t be a good idea to file for divorce first:

As you can see, filing first may give you the advantage of time, but there are no benefits when it comes to how the divorce plays out. However, there are also possible negatives to being the first person to file, which we spell out here…

  • If you and your spouse are already separated, and you happen to like the current arrangement (for example you have primary custody of the kids and they don’t have much time for visitation so you get almost all the time with your children) then why file? The court will probably assign them visitation, if not partial custody. So if you happen to like the current arrangement and filing for divorce would probably change it, then hold off and let your spouse file first.
  • If you are hoping for reconciliation. FIling for divorce makes it clear to your spouse that it’s over (at least from your perspective) and you’re ready to move on. So if deep in your heart you’re hoping to fix things, or you think there’s a chance you might be able to save your relationship, then don’t file for divorce.
  • The filing party has to pay the filing fee between (which is between $175-$255 in Michigan, depending on whether or not there are minor children) So it benefits you to not file first if you don’t want to be the one to pay the fee.

The person who files first doesn’t get any special advantages!

Being the first to file doesn’t mean you get more stuff or less debt when it comes time to divide up your assets. It doesn’t affect how much time you get with your kids, or how much you’ll have to fork out in child support payments. In short, it doesn’t affect the outcome of your divorce in any way – positive or negative. So if you decide to file for divorce, make sure you’re filing because it’s what you want, not because you’re trying to get some kind of advantage over your spouse.

If you want to make a decision that will have a huge impact on how successful your divorce process is, then make sure you choose the best attorney available to represent you during your divorce. At The Kronzek Firm, our skilled family law attorneys have been helping people from all over Michigan with their divorces for decades. We stay up to date on Michigan family law, have many years of experience handling all kinds of scenarios, and can help you navigate every aspect of the process. So call 866 766 5245 today, and get the right help – the help that makes a difference!