Should I Be The First To File?

Filing a complaint for divorce triggers a sequence of deadlines that are to be met by both parties. One reason for filing a Complaint is to prod a reluctant spouse into action. If the deadlines are not met, there can be a number of different consequences, including a Default Judgment (Judgment entered in favor of the filing party and against the non-responding party). If you are trying to move forward as quickly as the law will allow, filing first puts you in better control of the pace of the divorce proceedings. If the divorce can be started in more than one jurisdiction because the parties live or work in different jurisdictions, the first to file can control the place where the case will be heard. It is the first filing of a Complaint, not the first service of a Complaint, which gives priority. There are a number of reasons for wanting to pick the court that will hear your case, including the reputations of the attorneys and the attitudes of the judges toward the important issues in your case.

Also, in any trial, the Plaintiff is the first to present their case. Some lawyers prefer to go to trial as the moving party. Filing first will accomplish that purpose. Otherwise, filing first will not give a tactical advantage to anyone.

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