Does it Matter Which Spouse Files For Divorce?

According to an article from The Economic Times a recent U.S. study indicates that women are twice as likely as men to file for divorce. While it is not entirely clear why this is so, it is an interesting phenomenon that begs the question; is there an advantage to be gained from being the spouse who files for divorce?

Potential Benefits

Many people believe that there is an important advantage to be gained from being the spouse who files for divorce however, from a legal standpoint, there is little benefit to be derived from winning the race to the courthouse. This is because here in Michigan both spouses are legally entitled to equal treatment throughout the divorce process, regardless of who filed first. With that said, it should be noted that the filing party may potentially enjoy some ancillary benefits. These potential benefits include:

  • Plaintiff v. Defendant. When someone files a claim in civil court that person who is suing is commonly referred to as the "plaintiff" or the "petitioner" while the person who is being sued is known as the "defendant" or the "respondent". Some people believe that there is a social benefit to be gain from being the plaintiff/petitioner in a divorce case, however in the eyes of the law it makes no difference whether you are listed as the plaintiff or the defendant.

  • Time to Prepare. In some cases the spouse who files for divorce has more time to mentally prepare for an impending divorce and to lawyer up, but this is only the case if their spouse is blindsided by the prospect of dissolving the marriage.

  • Ex Parte Motions. Sometimes a spouse who files first has a leg up when it comes to filing an ex parte motion requesting immediate asset injunction (in order to prevent their spouse from wrongfully liquidating or concealing marital assets) or a status quo order regarding the deposit or income and payment of bills because these motions can be granted without the other spouse attending a hearing. However, even if an ex parte order is issued the order is subject to a statutory objection period during which the non-requesting spouse can object to the order and be heard. Therefore, the benefit to be derived from being the filing spouse is likely minimal.

Being First to File May Not Make a Big Difference, but the Right Divorce Lawyer Can

Although being the spouse to file for divorce may not make a big difference in your case retaining the right divorce lawyer certainly can. It is critical that you find an attorney whom you can trust, who has extensive experience handling cases like yours, and who has the resources and knowledge necessary to competently fight for what is rightfully yours. To find out if experienced Michigan divorce attorney Michael A. Robbins is a good fit for you contact our Bloomfield Hills office today at (248) 646-7980 and schedule a confidential consultation.