Generally, not filing first for a divorce does not put you at a disadvantage in your case especially if you are represented by a divorce lawyer.
Doesn’t Matter In Texas
You should know that the divorce process consists of so many other details, which may determine the courts final ruling on the divorce. The judge will evaluate both sides equally regardless of who filed for divorce first.
The County Where You Filed
The person filing for divorce first is called the petitioner while the other party is called the respondent. The petitioner in most situations has to file for the divorce in a specific county.
However, sometimes you can choose where to file for a divorce. The law allows you to file where you are a resident in Texas but you must meet the specific county’s residence requirements.
So if your spouse lives in another county you can file first in the county you live in to save time and money. This is all about convenience, which you will need during the tedious and emotional divorce process. There are people that have to travel for hours to get to the court where their spouse filed for divorce.
Initial Filing Fee
The person who files for divorce first is the one that has to pay the $300 to $400 initial filing fee. The respondent can file their response for free or at an extremely low fee.
The respondent may also file a counterpetition for divorce, which costs $50-$100. The petitioner pays more for filing the case but they get to set the tone of the divorce case.
That is, they get to decide whether or not to plead fault or no-fault in the divorce case. However, pleadings can be changed later on by either spouse involved in the case.
In most divorces, couples try to avoid trial by attempting to reach an agreement amicably during mediation. It is only after these attempts have failed that they may choose to amend the pleading and chose to plead for fault.
Preparation for Temporary Orders Hearing
By filing first, you and your divorce attorney will have more time to prepare for a Temporary Orders Hearing. In most divorces, there is a Temporary Orders Hearing where a court issues temporary orders about things that cannot wait for the full resolution of the case.
These include child support payment, marital expenses such as mortgage, insurance, health and other issues.
In a Temporary orders hearing, the couples have to convince the judge who between them should be the primary conservator for the children, and who gets to keep the marital home as the divorce proceeds. This hearing also helps prevent a party in the divorce from hiding assets when the divorce process is still ongoing.
When you are preparing for a Temporary Orders Hearing, keep a list of potential issues that may come up during the case, and keep in mind things that impact your life daily such as expenses and childcare and more. A resourceful attorney will help you prepare the details that you can present in court to help your case.