Should someone file for divorce or wait for their spouse to file?

On Behalf of | Dec 29, 2023 | Divorce

Both spouses in a couple may be intensely unhappy with their marital relationship for a long time before a divorce actually happens. Many people experience a sort of cold war when their marriage declines wherein the spouses withdraw from one another but do not take any assertive actions. They avoid conflict, including the act of actually filing for divorce with the Washington family courts.

People often assume that the members of their extended community might blame them for the divorce if they are the one to file first, so they try to wait out their spouse instead. Is it better to be the one who files or the one who gets served by their spouse?

The person who files benefits from certain advantages

There are several key factors that make the choice to file for divorce first a smart one. First of all, there is the need for copies of accurate financial records from the marriage.

Someone who waits for their spouse to serve them may not actually have personal copies of relevant financial records such as tax returns and bank statements. They then need to obtain these through the discovery process, which could be quite expensive and time-consuming. People can better prepare for divorce when they decide to file, as they can take the time that they need to gather records before taking legal action.

Secondly, even if someone wants to divorce, getting served with paperwork can be humiliating or infuriating. Some people even plan to serve someone at a location where others may witness what happens, like their place of employment. People can have very intense emotional reactions to service with divorce paperwork, which is why it is often better to be the one who files than the one getting served.

Finally, the person who files a divorce petition with the Washington family courts takes control of the timing of the process. Otherwise, a vindictive spouse might file for divorce on a wedding anniversary or other important dates with the intention of causing someone emotional harm.

Although it can be very tempting to try to wait out a spouse, there are many benefits to taking control of Washington divorce proceedings. Discussing personal circumstances with a divorce attorney can help people better determine the best path forward when they decide to file for divorce in Washington.