Does It Matter Who Files for Divorce First?

IL divorce attorneyTypically, at least one spouse knows the marriage is headed for divorce before anyone actually files divorce papers. As the prospect of divorce becomes more of a reality, it is then natural for that spouse to wonder if they should file first, or if it matters.

Technically, Illinois is a no-fault divorce state. This means that one spouse does not have to prove the other person did anything wrong or was the reason the marriage broke down. One spouse must only have to state that there was a breakdown in the marital relationship and that there is little to no chance of reconciling. As such, many spouses think that it does not matter which person starts the proceedings. However, for spouses considering divorce, there are advantages in being the first to file.

Better Preparation

Divorce often comes as a surprise to many people, but that is obviously not the case for the person that files first. By eliminating that element of surprise, the spouse that files first can collect copies of all the important financial documents that are needed during a divorce. These can include bank and investment account statements, life insurance policies, titles to property, and more. Being the first to file also allows spouses to save money, or apply for credit that can help them through the divorce process.

After one spouse has filed for divorce, all of this can become more challenging because there is now a ticking clock for court hearings, costs, and more.

Standing Orders

Often, when a person learns that their spouse has filed for divorce, they drain the bank accounts, hide assets, and more so that their prized possessions will not be divided as part of the property division aspect of divorce hearings. They may also start to run up debt on credit cards jointly owned by the couple so that they are not responsible for repaying all of that debt after the divorce.

A standing order can prevent spouses from taking any of these actions. A standing order is a court order and therefore, is legally binding. This order states that these actions are prohibited, which can allow spouses filing first a great advantage.

Remain in Control

Spouses going through a divorce are not in control of much during the proceedings. When a spouse files first though, they regain some of that control. The spouse that files first can choose the jurisdiction the divorce hearings are held in, which is particularly beneficial when the two spouses live a significant distance from each other. Additionally, the spouse that files first can also control the tone of the divorce somewhat, and the direction it will take.

Need Help Filing for Divorce? Call Our Illinois Divorce Attorneys

Filing for divorce first can certainly be advantageous, but speaking to a skilled Hinsdale divorce attorney will also bring many benefits. At the Law Office of Martoccio & Martoccio, our attorneys will effectively negotiate with the other side to ensure you get the best settlement possible, and help move your divorce along as quickly and easily as possible. Call us today at 630-920-8855 or contact us online to schedule your free initial consultation to learn more about how we can help.



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