Why You Want To Be First To File Divorce

To end a marriage in Illinois, you must file a divorce petition in the county where at least one of you resides. Therefore, it may be wise to be the first to file if it is time to end your marriage and get a divorce. Learn why below, then speak to our Chicago divorce lawyers at Gordon & Perlut, LLC, if you need legal assistance.

Why Does Being First To File Divorce Matter?

Ideally, both spouses would agree to end the marriage amicably in an uncontested divorce. However, there are often complexities and emotional components in divorce that make that impossible.

If you and your spouse cannot agree to end the marriage amicably, one spouse must file a divorce petition with the family court. The spouse who files is termed the petitioner. The other party is called the respondent. When you are sure there is no possibility of reconciliation, being the first to file for divorce may offer advantages. They are:


If you file for divorce first, you may have more control over the pace of the case. For example, you began the divorce case when you chose, and your spouse must respond to the legal documents. Then, as your partner forms a response, you can plan the next steps.

Furthermore, being the spouse to file first means you can start the divorce proceedings when you are financially ready. Getting a divorce may become costly, and the person with more time could have a financial advantage. The spouse who is more financially prepared and can afford legal fees could have an edge in the ultimate divorce outcome.

Time To Prepare

Filing for divorce first in Illinois gives you more time to prepare with your Chicago divorce attorney. You will have more time to devise the best strategy and can gather financial documents, property records, text, emails, etc.

Request Temporary Orders

The spouse who files for divorce can request temporary orders from the court before telling the other person about the divorce filing. The temporary orders could limit what the spouses can do with marital assets or protect one partner from the other. Temporary child custody and spousal support also can be awarded temporary orders.

Are There Disadvantages To Filing For Divorce First?

While there are many advantages to filing first, there are downsides. First, by presenting your case first, you have to show your arguments to the other side. When you file the paperwork, you must state what you want, and your spouse can respond to it.

You also must pay for the divorce petition to be delivered to your spouse. The cost to serve the person with divorce papers is usually around $100. However, the potential advantages of filing for divorce usually outweigh any cost increases.

Contact Our Chicago Divorce Lawyers Today

If you file for divorce first, you also will have more time to select a Chicago divorce lawyer. Having the best attorney for your divorce can make a huge difference in the results of your case. The Chicago divorce lawyers at Gordon & Perlut, LLC, can help you, so contact our family law firm today at 312-360-0250 to review your case.