Does it Matter Who Files For Divorce First in Oakland County? (Pt 2)

A picture of a race track, overlaid with a stop watch, showing the sense of urgency and the idea of competitive filing.
It may feel like you’re rushing to beat the clock on this divorce filing, but being the first one to file isn’t always an advantage in Oakland County.

Hi again and welcome back to our blog about divorce in Oakland County and in Macomb County, Michigan! The Kronzek Firm has been discussing the situations where it could make a difference to your situation to file for divorce first in Oakland or Macomb County, and the times where it wouldn’t likely make any difference. As we mentioned in the previous article, sometimes people are afraid their spouse will ‘beat them to the courthouse’ and so they rush to file first to file for divorce.

But the idea that filing first gives you certain advantages can be misunderstood, and so some people rush into their divorces and in the end being the first to file didn’t benefit them at all. Other people wait, thinking it won’t matter and they end up paying for that delay. So which is it? Should you or shouldn’t you? Let’s take a look…

When it might be a good idea to file first in Oakland County or Macomb County:

  • You’re certain that you want to end your marriage, but your spouse isn’t. Waiting for them to decide could mean months, or even years, of delay. So if you know you want out, then you need to take the first step to get into a Michigan family court.
  • If you believe that you or your children are in danger from your spouse, the sooner you file and start the process, the better. However, if you really do think your spouse might hurt you or your kids, talk to your attorney about a Personal Protection Order.
  • If you and your spouse are in discussions about a divorce, but can’t seem to agree on issues like child custody, parenting time or asset division, filing first would force your hand, and you’d both have to begin negotiations.Better yet, having an experienced family law attorney often helps to get issues resolved without the need for a judge. 
  • For separated couples, if your spouse is the breadwinner and you’re the primary caregiver for your children, but your spouse refuses to help provide support, filing first may help. Getting the ball rolling with the family court means the faster you may get support if a support award is justified in your case. Judges in the Oakland County Family Court are especially sensitive to the support needs of kids and dependent spouses. The same is true in Macomb County and in Livingston County. 

When it might be a bad idea to file first in Oakland County:

  • If you and your spouse are already separated, and you happen to like the current arrangement (for example: you have primary custody of the kids) then why file? The court may try to award your spouse partial custody. If you happen to like the current arrangement and filing for divorce might change it, then hold off on filing unless there are other factors that weigh heavily in favor of filing quickly. .
  • If you’re hoping for reconciliation. FIling for divorce makes it clear to your spouse that it’s over (at least from your perspective) and you’re ready to move on. So if deep in your heart you’re hoping to fix things, or you think there’s a chance you might be able to save your relationship, then don’t file for divorce.
  • The filing party has to pay the filing fee between (which is between $175-$255 in Michigan, depending on whether or not you have minor children) So it benefits you to not file first if you don’t want to be the one to pay the fee.
  • If you’re separated and not paying child support, then it may be best to hold off on filing. As soon as the divorce process starts the issue of child support will come up and you may be required to start making payments. So if money is tight you might want to hold off on filing, at least until you are in a better place financially.

Filing first in Oakland County isn’t always to your advantage!

We get it – deciding to end your marriage is a very big decision, and it will affect your future in far-reaching ways. But if you want to make decisions that have a positive impact on how your divorce turns out, then nothing is more important than the attorney you choose to represent you! Whether you live in Royal Oak, Troy, Novi or Birmingham, who your lawyer is, will make a world of difference to your future! Our top family law attorneys have represented hundreds of spouses over the decades so we know a thing or two about Michigan divorce law. We’re available 24 / 7 for consultation or for crisis intervention. We also offer strategic planning meetings even if you have not made a firm decision to divorce. 

Here at The Kronzek Firm, our experienced and trusted family law attorneys have been helping people from all over Oakland County with their divorces for decades. We can help with every aspect of the process, from child support and custody, to asset division and alimony. So if you’re ready to move on to a better future, call (248) 479-6200 right now and speak to the divorce lawyers who can make a positive difference for you. 

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