Divorce is a reality of life. The American Psychological Association (APA) estimates that as many as half of all U.S. marriages will eventually end in divorce. Divorce is the right option for many couples—but that does not mean that it is easy. There are many legal and logistical challenges. You may be wondering: Is there any benefit to filing for divorce first? In this article, our Broomfield divorce attorney explains the most important things to know about the advantages (or lack thereof) of filing for divorce first in Colorado.
The Principle: Filing for Divorce First Does Not Make Your Case Stronger
As an overriding principle, it is important to emphasize filing for divorce first does not make your case strong. Indeed, in Colorado, filing for divorce first does not give one party an advantage in the legal proceedings. Both parties in a divorce have the same rights. Further, both parties will be granted the time and opportunity to present their case to the court.
There May Still Be Some Advantages to Filing for Divorce First in Colorado
While Colorado law grants the same general rights to the parties in a divorce case regardless of who files, it is also important to note filing for divorce first could carry some potential advantages in the divorce process. Here are three possible benefits to filing for divorce first in Colorado:
- Ability to Choose Jurisdiction: By filing for divorce first, a party has the opportunity to choose the jurisdiction in which the divorce proceedings will take place. This can be especially important if the parties live in different counties or, even more so, different states. Some divorces can be filed in multiple jurisdictions.
- Control Over Timeline: The party who files first also has some control over the timeline of the divorce process. They can choose when to file and thus set the pace of the proceedings. It is a potential advantage to filing first.
- Opportunity to Set Key Facts: By filing first, a party has the opportunity to present their case and lay out the key facts and arguments in their initial filing. This can be important in shaping the narrative of the case and setting the tone for the proceedings.
To be clear, there are also some possible disadvantages to filing for divorce first. In some situations, the party filing first may have to pay somewhat higher filing fees on the front end. Another possible disadvantage is you could inadvertently present a weaker case if you rush to file before you are ready. Make sure you present a strong, comprehensive case when filing for divorce in Colorado.
Note: In both contested and uncontested divorce cases in Colorado, spouses have the ability to file for divorce together (jointly). You do not necessarily have to choose who files or have to be in full agreement about how the divorce will be resolved in the end. Attempting a Joint Filing can have both positive and negative unintended consequences, which makes having an experienced divorce lawyer who knows the unique challenges facing citizens of North Metro Denver and Denver and is familiar with local trends, needs, and desires.
Contact Our Colorado Divorce Lawyer for Immediate Help
At Tanis McGonegal Family Law, P.C., our Colorado divorce attorneys are experienced, effective advocates for clients, who take a holistic approach to divorce taking into consideration the impact of divorce on the entire family. If you have any specific questions or concerns about filing for a divorce, we are here to help. Contact us today to set up a strictly confidential initial family law consultation. With an office in Broomfield, we provide family law representation throughout the region.