Regardless of the situation, every divorce will have roadblocks you’ll have to navigate around. The scenario may feel challenging, as if you’re always having to strategize your next move. This raises the question – does it matter who files for dissolution first?
Bineham & Gillen has a team of family lawyers here in the San Antonio area that are ready to help with your next legal issue. Regardless of the personal situation, you can trust our professionals to guide you through the litigation process. Keep reading to learn the pros and cons of filing for divorce first and what to do if you’re the party being served.
Does It Matter Who Files First In A Divorce?
Legally, it doesn’t matter who files for divorce first in Texas, but there may be some advantages to doing so. A court will ultimately dictate the terms of the case, but you will have the upper hand in a few aspects.
Advantages Of Filing For A Divorce In Texas First
No two dissolution cases are the same. There is no set outcome for how the litigation process will unfold, especially in court. However, filing for divorce before your current partner may benefit your case in a few ways.
You Choose The Location
When you’re the one to serve divorce papers, you have a choice of the court where the case will unfold. In Texas, the original petition for dissolution must be filed where the petitioner or respondent has lived in the last 90 days. This factor can be favorable, especially if you and your spouse have separated.
You Control The Timing
When you’re the one who is served divorce papers, time is not on your side. It can be stressful to find a reliable lawyer within a short timeframe. Filing first allows you to control when the process begins, giving you a slight advantage over your partner.
You Have The Opportunity To Prepare And Set The Tone Of The Trial
Filing first gives you an opportunity to prepare your case. You have time to gather information, strategize with your attorney and set the initial tone of the situation. In addition to being mentally prepared, as the Petitioner, you get to go first in trial. You do your opening statements first, you call witnesses first during the trial and you present your closing argument first. Being on the receiving end without the proper preparation can be stress-inducing. Additionally, you have to respond to the allegations the other side has made while attempting to tell your side of the story.
Cons Of Filing For Divorce First
There are a few disadvantages to filing for divorce first, specifically with finances and strategy. Your partner is alerted of your demands immediately, giving them an opportunity to plan a counter-argument. Filing and other associated fees can also be costly. Additionally, the filing process can be highly emotional and challenging to navigate when making the first move.
What To Do If You Are Served Divorce Papers
If you’re served with dissolution papers, it can be tempting to ignore them entirely. However, doing so can put your legal rights in danger. When granted divorce papers, consider taking the following steps:
- Accept the papers to protect yourself.
- Read over the terms with the help of a family law attorney.
- Respond to the terms within 20 days.
- Consult with a professional to assist with the filing procedure.
When going through a marital separation, it’s best to have a support system to guide you through the process. An experienced divorce attorney can help you navigate the process and minimize stress.
Contact Bineham & Gillen For Texas Divorce Texas Cases
Bineham & Gillen aims to provide quick, fast and compassionate solutions for your legal issues. Our professional family attorneys strive to help you through your litigation processes. When you’re experiencing a dissolution case, contact us for assistance.
If you are thinking about getting a divorce and don’t know where to begin, contact Bineham & Gillen to assist you through the process and to speak with the best divorce attorneys in Texas.