Bivek, Brubaker & Prescott - Marietta family law and divorce attorneys

Does it matter who files first?



Maybe. Filing first can offer both advantages and disadvantages to either party. 



  • Filing first allows the case to begin. If one party wants to get divorced and the other does not, the party wanting to get divorced can start the proceedings. 
  • For hearings and trials, the Plaintiff will argue first and will be able to argue after the Defendant’s argument as well.
  • When a civil case is initiated a Domestic Standing Order is put in place. For example, if a party in a divorce is worried about their spouse spending massive amounts of money, it may offer an advantage to go ahead and file to put the standing order in place. 
  • Being able to obtain any experts for the divorce process first.
  • Not being caught off-guard with discovery. The Plaintiff has the opportunity to go ahead and serve discovery to the Defendant when they serve the Complaint and Summons. This would allow the Plaintiff to be able to go ahead and gather the evidence before the Defendant could.



  • The Plaintiff does incur the filing cost of opening a new civil case. The filing fee is for each county varies but is typically around two hundred dollars.
  • While filing allows the Plaintiff to make their claims for relief and allegation first, a Defendant has 30 days from the Complaint to respond to those claims in their Answer and Counterclaim. The Plaintiff does not have to respond to the Defendant’s Answer and Counterclaim as the claims are all considered denied according to the Georgia Civil Code. However, the Plaintiff is allowed to go back and amend their Complaint for Divorce.


Depending on your case details, the attorney may decide it to be in your best interest to file first or wait until the other party files. Also, there may be a third option which is to file first but wait to file. To know when the best time to file is for your case, it is best to speak with an experienced Family Law attorney. If you would like to speak with one of our experienced Marietta Family Law attorneys about beginning the divorce process, please give us a call toll-free at 866-527-2630.


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