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Does It Matter Who Files for Divorce First in Michigan?

Does It Matter Who Files for Divorce First in Michigan?

Even when you and your partner have discussed divorce, it isn’t easy to take the first step. However, deciding which spouse will file first is an entirely different challenge. Many people think that rushing to the start line will offer them advantages throughout the case, but does it truly matter who files for divorce first in Michigan?

When it comes to Michigan law, it doesn’t technically matter who files first; doing so doesn’t offer you a legal advantage over your spouse during the case. But filing first can still offer some circumstantial benefits that can be key in how your case moves forward.

Choosing the Jurisdiction for the Case

If you and your partner already live separately, you may be able to choose which jurisdiction you want the divorce proceedings to take place if you file first. Depending on how far you live from your spouse, this could significantly reduce your need for travel, saving you time and money throughout the case. 

The other advantage to choosing the jurisdiction is having more control over which laws your divorce will be subject to. Each state has different rules regarding important aspects like custody and asset division, so choosing the jurisdiction can have a large impact on the outcome of your case. 

Issuing Temporary Orders

Not all divorces are amicable. When filing, it’s common to feel worried about how emotional turmoil or disagreements might influence your spouse’s actions. Thankfully, temporary orders are designed to offer stability and peace of mind as you navigate the divorce process. 

Temporary orders go into effect as soon as they’re signed by a judge and typically remain valid for the duration of your case. The two most common temporary orders in divorce cases are the status quo order and the automatic temporary restraining order.

A status quo order blocks either parent from interrupting or significantly changing their children’s usual schedules or living situations, while the automatic temporary restraining order prevents either spouse from making large financial decisions, such as selling off major assets.

If you file first, you have the opportunity to retrieve these orders from a court before serving your divorce papers to your spouse. So whether you are concerned about your spouse seeking retribution or just want more security as you go through the process, filing first and obtaining these orders could be very beneficial. 

Choosing Your Lawyer

When facing divorce, both spouses usually meet with multiple divorce attorneys to find a good fit for their needs. Unfortunately, if your spouse calls or consults multiple attorneys in your area, they may establish a relationship that generates a conflict of interest. 

Even if your partner doesn’t hire the attorneys they speak with, any lawyer they establish a client-attorney relationship with will not be able to serve you, making it more challenging for you to find legal representation. 

Is Filing First Necessary in Your Case?

Filing first offers several circumstantial benefits that can give you stability and peace of mind. An experienced divorce attorney can evaluate your case and recommend whether filing first is the best course of action for you.

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