Mississippi Divorce Attorney Weighs in on whether it Matters Who Files for Divorce First

One common question that people ask divorce attorneys is whether there is any advantage or disadvantage to being the spouse who initiates the divorce proceedings. It is not surprising that many people ask this question, as some people make bold statements to their spouses when they discuss the idea of getting a divorce. They may tell their spouse that since they will be the first to file, the spouse will be the defendant in the case. They may imply that filing first will place them in a position of power. They may make all kinds of other representations about what they think it means to be the first to file for divorce. Their purpose in making these statements may be to intimidate, to incite further conflict, or any number of other things. Fortunately, if you hear any statements like those mentioned above, you will know the truth about whether any benefits come from being the first to file for divorce, and you can choose your responses to those statements with confidence, instead of out of fear.

As for the matter of which of you is the plaintiff and which is the defendant, it is true that the person who files for divorce first will be known throughout the proceedings as the plaintiff and the other spouse will be known as the defendant. However, it is also true that the words “plaintiff” and “defendant” do not carry the same meanings that they do in criminal cases. In divorce cases, the terms “plaintiff” and “defendant” are only used for the purpose of identifying the parties and nothing more.

There is no one size fits all answer to the question of whether you should file for divorce before your spouse, because each divorce case is unique. There are situations in which it is a good idea to file first, and there are situations in which it is better to let the other party file first. For example, if you are in a situation in which you and your spouse cannot agree on a temporary plan for child support, parenting time, or other important issues, you may need the court to issue temporary orders. Temporary orders may be requested by the plaintiff in a Complaint for Divorce, so you would want to be the first to file.

While very few divorce cases actually proceed to trial, it is worth mentioning that being the first to file means that your evidence will be presented first. This can actually be a slight disadvantage, as the defendant and their attorney will see your case as it is presented. They may use the information that they see to shape their defense case and mount a counterattack. However, any advantage is likely to be slight, as the party with the more meritorious case is likely to prevail whether they present their evidence first or second.

As with many questions regarding divorce in Mississippi, the answer to the question of whether you should be the first to file for divorce is “it depends”. To learn more about whether filing first would be a good idea in your particular circumstances, call Mississippi Divorce Attorney Matthew S. Poole today, at (601) 573-7429, to schedule a free consultation.

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Mississippi Divorce Attorney Weighs in on whether it Matters Who Files for Divorce First
Mississippi Divorce Attorney discusses the order of filing for divorce and implications thereof.