A popular topic of discussion among those considering getting a divorce is the apparent importance of being in the position of the first one to file for divorce. But does it matter whether you or your spouse file first, and will the courts have more leniency if you are the defendant of a divorce case? Get the answers to these and other common questions about divorce in New York and see how a divorce attorney can play an essential role in the process.
What Does It Mean to Be the Plaintiff or the Defendant in a Divorce?
There are two parties to any type of legal action – the plaintiff and the defendant. In a divorce, the plaintiff is simply the party that initiates the legal action. The defendant is the other spouse served with divorce papers and allowed to respond.
If you have filed for divorce, you are the plaintiff. If you have been served with divorce papers, you are the defendant. Both parties are viewed equally in court and may each be represented by an attorney.
Is It Better or Worse to File for Divorce First?
Some people may have heard a rumor that it is best to be on either side of a divorce – some may say it is better to file for divorce first and be the plaintiff, while others believe being the defendant is more favorable. In reality, the courts do not view one side or the other any differently.
Apart from the initial expense of filing for divorce and having their spouse served with papers, the plaintiff and the defendant will likely incur equivalent costs. With few exceptions, it does not matter whether you are the plaintiff or the defendant in a divorce, but either way, having a knowledgeable attorney on your side can make all the difference in your case.
Will Automatic Orders Apply to Both Parties in a Divorce?
Automatic orders forbid the parties in a divorce from canceling health insurance benefits, emptying joint bank accounts, or entering into new mortgages on marital property. Both parties in a divorce are entered into automatic orders at the beginning of the divorce action.
The only difference is the plaintiff is entered into automatic orders at the time of filing for divorce, while the defendant becomes subject to the orders after the divorce papers are served.
When Should I Speak to a Divorce Attorney?
If you are considering getting a divorce and have questions, consult a divorce attorney as soon as possible. Having an attorney on your side can make you more confident in taking the proper steps to navigate your divorce process in New York.