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Does it matter who files first for divorce in Georgia?

There are some advantages to filing for divorce before your spouse does in the state of Georgia, depending on your situation. While the importance of filing first may differ from case to case, there are some circumstances in which filing first gives you a clear advantage over your spouse, particularly if your case proceeds to trial.

One advantage of filing first is that you can plan where and when to file the divorce. This may give you a bit of strategic advantage, if, for example, there are multiple venues in which the divorce could be filed, and you wish the divorce to be filed in a particular venue that may be more convenient or advantageous for you. This is especially the case if there are any interstate dimensions to your divorce, such as an interstate custody dispute or the proposed relocation of a child to another state.

If it is necessary to resolve your case by proceeding to court for a trial, the spouse who filed first will have the opportunity to present his or her case first to the judge, and will also get the last word in at the end of the trial. The order in which the evidence is presented can be very important to your case. For instance, in a very long trial or one that is protracted over several non-consecutive days, the testimony or evidence that the court hears first, as opposed to that which the court hears many days later, may be more influential to the judge who is deciding your case. Likewise, being the first to proceed with your case at trial can save you money. You will know exactly when and how to schedule your witnesses to minimize their time spent waiting to testify and then actually testifying. This is particularly important when you are paying an expert witness hundreds of dollars per hour to testify in your case. Another advantage is that you also will have the last word before the judge. After your attorney has presented your closing arguments, the attorney for your spouse then will present his or her closing arguments. Finally, your attorney will have the chance to offer rebuttal, which is the last information that the divorce judge will hear. Therefore, your attorney has a final chance to set the record straight, correct any errors that the other attorney made or things that were mischaracterized, and emphasize the most important arguments in your favor.

Contact us or call today to learn how Shaw Law can work with you to achieve the best outcome possible for you and your children.

Scott Shaw is founder and principle of Shaw Law Firm LLC, founded in 1995 and dedicated solely to divorce, family law and child custody matters that must be addressed and decided in the state of Georgia. Shaw Law Firm serves the greater Metro Atlanta area, particularly the counties of Fulton, Gwinnett, Cobb, Cherokee, Forsyth, Paulding, Henry, Fayette, Coweta, Newton, Walton, Bartow and Douglas. Schedule a consultation today at 770-594-8309.