My Spouse Filed First
Divorce Runs on a Strict Timeline
Since you are here, we can assume your spouse has already filed for divorce. Unfortunately, by filing first, your spouse is starting out with an advantage. The divorce process runs on a strict timeline set by the court. By starting the clock on their terms, your spouse has put you under a deadline with limited time to respond. They have also started the process with the court hearing their side of the story first. You now have to respond to their claims and explain to the court what is really happening. You are starting the game already points behind to the other team, with the first quarter gone on the clock. If your spouse has not yet filed for divorce and you are certain your relationship has reached the end, do not waste time and let them obtain the uphill advantage.
You thought your life was going fine. Sure you and your spouse had problems, just like any married couple, but you had spent years building a life together. You were committed to continue being a good partner and working through any issues. Sadly, your spouse just didn't feel the same way. You were sitting at your desk at work and suddenly a man hands you a stack of papers that changes your life in a instant. You have just been served divorce papers.
Divorce is emotionally challenging for all of us. Unfortunately, some people experience so much guilt and despair about divorce they give into every demand made by their spouse or their attorney, no matter how ridiculous. If your spouse filed first for divorce, it means they have been preparing for this, and have a clear plan of what they want to take with them from your marriage. While you may feel shell shocked, this is no time to surrender. Divorce cases are not decided by who files first. Divorce cases are decided by which side presents the best facts and legal argument.
Still, the person who files first does gain a few advantages. It is important you understand by filing first your spouse has started a series of deadlines you must meet. They have started out prepared with a plan, an attorney, and laid out their demands first. You need to play a little catch up, but the game is not over. Quality legal representation can get you back in front and protect your assets and your rights.