Does Filing for Divorce Before my Spouse Put Me at an Advantage?

The Law Office of Doppelt and Forney, APLC exclusively practices family law. This includes all divorce, legal separation and paternity cases. From high-asset divorce to child support and child custody & visitation, we are here to help.

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There are two parties in a divorce: the petitioner and the respondent. The petitioner is the person who files first and is the first one to serve the other party. The respondent is the one who is initially served divorce papers, and they are considered the respondent.

Is there any benefit to being the petitioner in your divorce?

Generally, and in the eyes of the Judge, there is no advantage to filing first. The Judge will not make any decisions based on who filed first.

However, the person who filed first may have had more time to prepare, gather all necessary documents and consult a few divorce attorneys. Also, once the first divorce papers are filed, ATRO’s go into effect, preventing the respondent from making any changes to things like beneficiaries or disposing of assets. The petitioner has the advantage in that the timing of the process is on their terms.

Another advantage is that the petitioner can choose where to file for divorce. This is only an advantage if the spouses are currently living in different jurisdictions.

The respondent has 30 days to file a response after being served, which means they need to do all the initial work (gather all financial documents, hire a divorce attorney, etc.) in a strict time frame.

If you and your spouse are considering divorce, we advise you to talk with a divorce attorney immediately so you can understand your options, the process, and potential outcomes a divorce could have.

If you are the respondent in a divorce, don’t worry. An experienced divorce attorney can help you through the process, ensure everything is filed and responded to on time, and help protect your best interests. If you were served with divorce papers, contact a divorce attorney today for a free consultation.

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Are you considering a divorce? Did you just receive divorce papers from your spouse? Call the divorce lawyers at Doppelt and Forney, APLC. We are here to help you feel peace of mind. During this tough time, you want an experienced attorney on your side, advocating for your rights. If you currently have a family law case in San Diego County, call today for a free consultation.