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Filing for Divorce: Does it Matter Who Files First?

Posted on in Divorce

filing for divorce, filing first, Illinois divorce attorneyIn many cases, it is often clear that a marriage is over long before a petition for divorce has been filed. You may have come to that realization regarding your own relationship. However, filing for divorce may seem to be a drastic step and one that you may be hesitant to take, regardless of the condition of the marriage. Should you file first? Should you wait for your spouse? Does it really make a difference?

Depending on the specific circumstances of your situation, filing first will probably not make much of a difference in the outcome of your divorce. Your role during the process may change slightly based upon your status as the petitioner or the respondent, but the end result is likely to be effectually the same. You will have the same opportunities to present information to the court, in most cases, the factors considered under law make no reference to a party’s filing status.

Possible Exceptions

If you are seeking a divorce based on irreconcilable differences, the reason cited by most divorcing couples, filing first will likely have little bearing on the case. As the spouse who files, or the petitioner, you may be required to pay a filing fee, but it is possible to be compensated for a percentage of such fees during the division of property process.

Filing for divorce on fault grounds, however, places an increased burden of proof on the petitioner. A spouse who chooses to file on such grounds as infidelity or abandonment is required to prove to the court that the divorce should be granted. The final divorce agreement, though, is not likely to be impacted much, as Illinois law prohibits the consideration of marital misconduct in proceedings for asset division or spousal maintenance. Child-related matters may be affected but only if the actions of the at-fault spouse directly impact the well-being of the child.

Legal Help When You Need It Most

As with most issues in the process, the effects of filing for divorce first are fully dependent on the details of your case. A qualified divorce lawyer can help you understand the potential outcome. Before you make any decisions, contact an experienced Arlington Heights family law attorney at A. Traub & Associates. We will review your situation, answer your questions, and assist you in deciding how to best proceed with your divorce.


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