You and your spouse have decided to divorce. You’ve had the conversation, one of you has moved out, or the writing is simply on the wall. However, neither of you have taken the step to officially file for divorce in Washington State. Should you wait for your spouse to complete the paperwork, or are there advantages to initiating divorce proceedings?
Generally speaking, there are no huge advantages to initially filing for divorce. A judge will not treat the petitioner (the person who originally filed for the divorce) differently than the responder (the spouse who did not file). The respondent will not be seen as the person at fault for the divorce. Especially in a divorce that does not involve acrimony or contention, there is little reason to worry about who filed. That being said, there are some small advantages to filing first in some situations:

  • Timeline and paperwork advantages. Perhaps the biggest advantage to filing first is that you may set the pace for the divorce and avoid being on the receiving end of temporary orders regarding parenting plans, alimony, child support, and protection orders. Initiating for divorce first means putting many deadlines in your spouse’s court.
  • Trial advantages. The petitioner presents their case first in divorces that go to court. Some believe that being able to tell your side of the story to the judge first is an advantage.
  • The mental advantage. In some cases, a spouse may feel more confident about the divorce proceedings if he or she takes the final step to go ahead with a divorce. This may be especially true in cases that involve domestic abuse or emotional trauma.

If you are considering initiating a Washington State divorce, you may wish to speak with a Seattle divorce attorney about your case. The family law attorneys at the Law Offices of Molly B. Kenny can help you understand the process and help you create a plan for moving forward. To schedule a consultation, call 425-460-0550.

Molly B. Kenny
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Divorce and Child Custody Attorney Serving Bellevue and Seattle Washington