Disadvantages of Filing for Divorce First
Going through a Las Vegas divorce can be a lengthy process. However, long before finalizing the end of your marriage and obtaining a divorce decree from the court, there are several important logistical and strategic decisions that you will need to make. One of these decisions to be made is deciding whether you want to be the party that initiates the lawsuit and files first for divorce.
There are certainly advantages to filing first. However, there are also certain drawbacks to be aware of before you move forward. Read on to learn more about some of the disadvantages of filing for divorce first in Las Vegas, NV. Then, when you’re ready to get started, contact the team of family law and divorce attorneys at Mills & Anderson to see how we can help you protect your rights today.
Does It Matter Who Files for Divorce First?
In short, it depends.
Generally speaking, from a legal perspective, the parties will be afforded the same rights and remedies in a Nevada divorce action regardless of which party was the first to actually file the divorce lawsuit. That being said, the decision of who files for divorce can nevertheless have practical and strategic implications on your case and personal life as you move forward.
Thus, while the ultimate outcome of a divorce action should not be affected by which party was first to file, depending on your particular needs and goals, it may matter on some level who files for divorce first.
5 Disadvantages of Filing for Divorce First
Before filing for divorce in Nevada, it’s important to consider the possible adverse impacts that may result from being the first to file. To help you decide whether this is the right course of action for your scenario, below are 5 examples of potential disadvantages of filing for divorce first.
1. Perceived Adversarial Tone
Being the spouse who takes the plunge and files the divorce paperwork first can sometimes result in setting a confrontational or adversarial tone for the proceedings moving forward. This can lead to increased animosity between the parties, which, in turn, may hinder efforts to reach amicable resolutions on crucial issues such as property division, child custody, and spousal support.
That said, in many cases, there may be heightened tensions and animosity between the parties regardless of who files first. As such, don’t let this potential disadvantage keep you from filing for divorce first if doing so is ultimately what is best for you and your family moving forward.
2. Expense of Filing First
Another potential disadvantage is the cost of filing first.
In Nevada, the party who files for divorce first will file a complaint to initiate the lawsuit. In response, the other spouse will then file what is referred to as an answer. Typically, the cost of filing the complaint in Nevada courts is higher than the cost of filing the answer. For example, in Carson County, the filing fee for a divorce complaint is $294.00, while the filing fee for a divorce answer is $207.00.
Notably, however, after the filing of the complaint and answer, most other filing fees and other court costs will be the same for both parties. Thus, the difference in such fees throughout the course of the divorce proceedings will be relatively small in most cases.
3. Potential Strategic Disadvantages for the Responding Party
In some situations, the party who files first may feel like they are at a strategic disadvantage, and the other spouse will have an opportunity to review the complaint in detail before preparing their own strategy and legal defenses to include in their answer. However, it’s important to remember that your spouse will not have an unlimited amount of time to prepare their answer. As such, they should not have an unfair advantage simply because you elect to file first.
4. Emotional Toll on Other Related Parties
Often, the two parties seeking the divorce are not the only ones who will be impacted by the termination of the marriage. Other related parties, such as children, other family members, and mutual friends, will have some investment in the relationship and the parties’ decision to end it. Even in cases where both spouses have mutually decided that a divorce is the best decision moving forward, being the first to file may influence how certain related parties perceive and cope with the end of the marriage.
While you can’t control how people will feel, being open and communicative with others who may be affected by the divorce can go a long way toward helping them understand your decision to file first and reducing the emotional toll on them in the future.
5. Loss of Control Over Timeline After Initial Filing
Lastly, while the person who files first is in control at the outset, once the case is initiated, they usually will not have as much control over the timing and pace of the proceedings moving forward.
Thereafter, the case will generally proceed in accordance with specific statutory timelines and deadlines as well as the court’s capacity and schedule.
So, Should I File First for My Divorce?
At the end of the day, whether or not you should file first in your divorce will vary from case to case. For example, some may feel forced to file first if their spouse refuses to initiate the proceedings, despite the existence of these disadvantages. In other cases, someone may decide that they would prefer to wait things out to see if their spouse will file first. Ultimately, there is no right or wrong answer.
Gain Back the Advantage: Speak with a Las Vegas Family Law Attorney Today
Regardless of whether or not you choose to file first, one thing that can provide a strong advantage is having an experienced attorney on your side to help you navigate your divorce proceedings.
If you have questions about filing first in a Nevada divorce and how this can impact your case and rights moving forward, the Las Vegas family law attorneys at Mills & Anderson are here to help. We pride ourselves on having the right combination of not only legal knowledge and experience but also the communication and people skills necessary to effectively represent your interests. Give us a call to discuss your case and learn more about how we can help you gain back the advantage in your Las Vegas divorce today.