Does it Matter Who Filed for Divorce FIRST in Los Angeles California?

Should I file for Divorce before my Spouse in Los Angeles?

The Pros and Cons of Filing for Divorce First in Los Angeles

Is It Better to File for Divorce before my Spouse Does


Law Offices of Don Glass in Los Angeles

California Statewide – All Cities and Courts

$395 and $695 Flat Legal Fee Divorce Services


California Statewide – All Cities and Courts



If your marriage has come to an end in Los Angelesand you are headed for divorce, you may ask yourself if it matters who files for divorce first. Many divorce attorneys argue that there really is no advantage to filing for dissolution (divorce) first.  But California attorney Don Glass believes that it depends on your individual circumstances and there are many advantages for filing first.


Here are some general advantages to filing first in Los Angeles:

  • You get to time to plan in advance and take your time selecting a lawyer;
  • You don’t have to scramble to find a lawyer to meet with you and file a Response within 30 days of being served;
  • You have time to be mentally and emotionally prepare for the financial cost of divorce;
  • You have the first choice to decide what city & state to file for divorce and which court will hear your case. Depending on where you live, having your case heard in one courthouse over another could be a significant advantage. For example, if your spouse moved to another county, he or she could file in that county once they meet the residency requirement;
  • You are in control of the timeframes and how fast or slow you proceed to a final judgment;
  • As the petitioner, you get the first argument at trial if your case goes to trial;
  • By initiating the divorce process, you have the opportunity to start protecting community assets;
  • You control or prevent your spouse from possible stalling the process for a final judgment;
  • You control whether the divorce can be cancelled or dismissed, not your spouse;
  • Your spouse may not be prepared to react quickly to you filing for divorce by surprise;
  • You might feel more confident if you are in control for once.


By filing first in Los Angeles, one of the most significant advantages is you are given adequate opportunity to consult with various attorneys before choosing one. By filing first, you are giving yourself an offensive position instead of a defensive position.

Ideally, you and your spouse will conduct the process of physically separating and pursing dissolution proceedings in an organized, amicable, planned, and orderly fashion. If you anticipate any conflict about child custody or property division, then the sooner you seek legal counsel, the better prepared you will be to navigate any issues that arise in Los Angeles.

Filing for Divorce In Los Angeles California

California is a “no-fault” divorce state. This means that the only reason you need to file for divorce is “irreconcilable differences.” You must live in California to file for a divorce and the divorce must be filed in the county in which you or your spouse lives.

Once the divorce is finalized, the divorce judgment will determine:

  • The date the marriage ends;
  • Who will get custody of the children and visitation for the other parent;
  • Who will pay child support and how much;
  • Who will pay the children’s health insurance and medical expenses;
  • Who will pay the couple’s community property debts;
  • How the couple’s community property will be divided;
  • Whether one spouse will pay spousal support (alimony).


Here are some financial advantages to filing first in Los Angeles:

You can have your divorce team lined up in advance.

You can gather all the documents you will need before the divorce begins.

You can ensure that you have access to funds and credit before you file.

You can prevent your spouse from hiding assets before you file.

You may prevent dirty tricks by your spouse.

Bottom line in Los Angeles

The idea of filing for divorce can be scary and unnerving, taking most people out of their day to day comfort zone and familiar lifestyle. It presents a lot of unknowns. The decision should only be a serious consideration if the relationship has truly ended and the parties have invested best efforts to maintain the family. Every situation is unique and you might have additional questions about the timing of when to file in Los Angeles.


Law Offices of Don Glass

California Statewide – All Cities and Courts

$395 and $695 Flat Legal Fee Divorce Services