Some people seeking a divorce are in a rush to file a petition before their spouse. Many believe that being the first to file is crucial. However, it does not matter who initially files a divorce petition. The process is ultimately the same, whether you file first or not. Both filing first and being served papers come with advantages and disadvantages.
Read more about the advantages of filing first and being served divorce papers below.
Advantages of Filing for Divorce First
The person that files the initial divorce petition is referred to as the petitioner. There are a handful of advantages to being the petitioner. Here are a few:
- Thoughtful Selection of Attorney — Being the petitioner allows you to take the time to thoughtfully and carefully choose a lawyer. You will not have to make your decision quickly, unlike the spouse that is served papers.
- A Time That is Good for You — Being the petitioner allows you to select a start time that is convenient for you. You will also have time to prepare yourself for the financial stress a divorce may cause.
- Protect Shared Assets — Being the petitioner will give you more time to protect shared assets.
Advantages of Being Served Divorce Papers
The person who is served with divorce papers is referred to as the respondent. Many people believe there are disadvantages to being the respondent and that there are not any benefits. However, being the respondent does have its own set of advantages. Here are some:
- Time to Make Decisions — Being the respondent gives you the chance to review the petitioner’s requests before you are required to make any decisions.
- Create a Plan of Attack — Being the respondent allows you and your lawyer to create a strategy that is effective and solid based on your spouse’s requests.
- Save Your Money — Being the respondent will save your money as the petitioner is responsible for paying the filing fees.
Remember, the respondent has 21 days to respond if served in Utah and 30 days if you were served outside of Utah. Given the short timeline, you may want to consider seeking the advice and counsel of a legal representative as soon as you are served. Failing to respond within the 21 or 30 days may lead to the court granting a default judgment. A default judgment means giving the petitioner what they have requested.
Petitioner vs. Respondent
Whether you are the petitioner or the respondent, you will be heard. Overall, it does not matter if you are the one to file or if you are not. The petitioner and the respondent are considered equals in Utah law, and both parties will be able to speak their case to the court.
Contact The Ault Firm
If you are ready to file for divorce or have been served papers and need legal representation, call the experienced attorneys at The Ault Firm. Because of our years of experience, we understand the challenges and obstacles you are facing at this time. With The Ault Firm, you will receive comprehensive and compassionate representation. Contact the knowledgeable team at The Ault Firm to schedule your case review today.