We are often asked if there is any advantage to filing first in a San Diego divorce case. In most cases the question of who files for the divorce itself will not have a material outcome on the case itself. However, there are absolutely instances where it is important to make sure you are the first one filing for divorce in San Diego. How will you know what is best for your unique circumstances?
One example an advantage to filing first in a San Diego divorce case is “venue.” Venue is the legal term for the Court who has control of a specific legal case. If you live and work in San Diego, it is quite natural to want a San Diego Family Court to be the “venue” for your divorce.
Let’s consider the example of a co-parent who takes the children and moves out of state. Some states, like California, require a six-month period of residency before a divorce can be filed. However, there are situations where a former spouse can attempt to seek “emergency orders” and attempt to file a case in another state. When that happens, you will either have to fight a legal battle out of state (expensive) or wage a battle to re-establish the jurisdiction of our San Diego Family Court.
The party who is filing first in a San Diego divorce case is known as the “petitioner.” The petitioner does have the opportunity to ask the Court for a variety of orders in every aspect of the case including, but not limited to:
- Child custody and parenting time
- Division of community property
- Child support and spousal support
- Division of retirement assets
The person who receives service after the filing of a divorce is known as the “respondent.” The respondent has a very short period of time to respond to the initial filing or risk “summary Judgment” where the petitioner basically gets everything they asked for. It is always in your best interests to file a response to a divorce case.
The other advantage to filing first in a San Diego divorce case is the petitioner will always go first when presenting evidence or testimony in a disputed matter. Some would argue the ability to “take the first shot” can influence the Judge’s perception. The Judges in San Diego Family Court are highly experienced, professionals. The Judge is going to hear all parties and consider all evidence.
Some would say there may be a slight advantage to filing first in a San Diego divorce case.
Protect your own interests and contact us or call 760-434-3330 to schedule an appointment for a remote or socially distanced consultation with one of our experienced Certified Family Law Specialists.