Serving Clients Across Texas

Does It Matter Who Files for Divorce First?

Whether or not to file for divorce first in Dallas, Texas may have an effect on your divorce case. When it comes to issues that need immediate attention at the beginning of a divorce action, the fact that you file for divorce first can set in motion a series of events that can directly benefit you.

When a person files for divorce, that person can request a Temporary Orders Hearing in the Original Petition for Divorce. The purpose of the Temporary Orders hearing is what I refer to as “putting a Band-Aid on the situation.” The Judge is going to make orders that will remain in place during the pendency of the case. These orders include possession schedules for you and your spouse’s time with the children, conservatorship of the children, child support, who gets to remain in the marital residence during the pendency of the case and who must vacate the marital residence, temporary spousal support, and who will be responsible for certain bills. Filing for divorce first may give you an advantage when comes to issues at the Temporary Orders hearing in that you will likely have more time to prepare for this hearing than your spouse will have.

If two people are married without children and a temporary orders hearing is not necessary at the beginning of the divorce action, then it will not likely matter who files for divorce first. Average filing fees for divorce actions range from $300.00 – $350.00 plus the costs of personal service of the Divorce Petition on your spouse. These are costs that are paid by the person who files for divorce first. If you do not file first, you can expect the filing fees to be approximately $35.00 and you will not need to pay for personal service of the Counter-Petition for Divorce on your spouse.

It is important to speak with your attorney at the beginning of your case to establish what your short and long term goals are for your divorce. Depending on your goals, it may be beneficial to file for divorce first as opposed to waiting for your spouse to file first.