Filing for a divorce and serving to woman

Understanding the Divorce Process in Austin, TX

The divorce process can be a complex and emotionally challenging journey. As an experienced family law attorney in Austin, TX, we at the Family Law Office of Ben Carrasco understand the intricacies and importance of each step in divorce proceedings. One common question we encounter from clients is, “Does it matter who files for divorce first?” This article aims to shed light on this topic, discussing the pros and cons of being the filing spouse.

Filing First: An Overview

The decision to file for divorce is significant, often marking the start of a new chapter in one’s life. But beyond the emotional implications, filing for divorce first can also have practical consequences in the divorce process. It can influence various aspects of the divorce case, from the court’s timeline to the division of marital property and child custody arrangements.

Pros of Filing for Divorce First


Being the first to file for divorce can sometimes offer a strategic advantage. The filing spouse has the opportunity to prepare and plan, which can be beneficial in gathering financial records, securing legal representation from an experienced divorce attorney, and mentally preparing for the legal process ahead. This preparation can be particularly crucial in cases where one spouse suspects the other of hiding assets or misusing marital funds.


Filing for divorce first can also potentially impact child custody and marital property division. The filing spouse can request temporary orders for child custody, child support, and spousal support, providing stability and predictability during the divorce proceedings. Additionally, the filing spouse can propose the initial terms for the division of marital assets, which can set the tone for negotiations.


The spouse who files first often has more control over the divorce settlement agreement. They can outline their desired outcomes regarding marital property division, child custody, and spousal support, which can guide the negotiation process. This control can be particularly beneficial in cases involving substantial marital assets or complex property division issues.


The spouse who files first may have some influence over spousal support and child support arrangements. By filing first, you can present your case for temporary child support only to the court early in the process, potentially influencing the court’s decisions regarding these critical financial matters.

Cons of Filing for Divorce First


While being the first to file for divorce can offer certain advantages, it also comes with challenges. One of the immediate drawbacks is the financial cost. The filing spouse is responsible for the initial filing fee, which can be a significant expense. Preparing and filing divorce papers with a divorce attorney’s help can incur additional attorney fees.


Filing for divorce first can sometimes escalate conflict between spouses, particularly in contested divorces. The other spouse may feel blindsided or become defensive, which could lead to a more contentious and drawn-out divorce process. This is especially true in child custody battles or complex property divisions.


The spouse who files for divorce first often carries the burden of proof. They must provide evidence to support their claims regarding child custody, spousal support, and the division of marital assets. This can be a complex and time-consuming process, requiring the assistance of an experienced divorce attorney.

The Role of an Experienced Divorce Attorney in Your Divorce Case

Whether you’re the first to file for divorce or respond to a spouse’s divorce petition, having an experienced divorce lawyer by your side is crucial. A skilled attorney can guide you through the legal process, help you understand local laws and court proceedings, and advocate for your interests in child custody, spousal support, and property division.

The Importance of the Divorce Petition in the Divorce Process

The divorce petition is a critical document in the divorce process. It sets the tone for the divorce proceedings and can influence everything from child custody arrangements to the division of marital assets. Whether you’re the filing spouse or the other spouse, understanding the implications of the divorce petition is crucial.

Uncontested Divorce vs. Contested Divorce: How the Filing Spouse Matters

The role of the filing spouse can vary significantly in an uncontested divorce versus a contested divorce. In an uncontested divorce, both spouses agree on all issues, and the filing spouse’s role is primarily administrative. However, the filing spouse can have a significant strategic advantage in a contested divorce.

Preparing for Divorce: Financial Records, Bank Accounts, and Marital Assets

Preparation is key whether you’re considering filing for divorce first or responding to a divorce petition. This includes gathering financial records, understanding the status of bank accounts, and taking stock of marital assets. This preparation can help ensure a fair property division and prevent any potential hiding of assets.

The Legal Process: From Filing for Divorce to Court Proceedings

Understanding the legal process, from filing for divorce to court proceedings, is crucial. This includes knowing the steps involved, from serving divorce papers to negotiating a divorce settlement agreement. The spouse who files for divorce first often sets the timeline for this process, which can affect both parties.

The Impact of Local Laws and Court Location on Your Divorce Case

Local laws and the location of your court can have a significant impact on your divorce case. Different counties may have different rules and procedures affecting everything from filing fees to court proceedings. Experienced divorce attorneys can help you navigate these local nuances.

Weighing the Pros and Cons of Filing for Divorce First

Deciding whether to file for divorce first is a personal decision that depends on your specific circumstances. It’s important to weigh the pros and cons, consider the potential strategic advantages and disadvantages, and consult an experienced divorce attorney before making this decision.

How the Family Law Office of Ben Carrasco Can Help

At the Family Law Office of Ben Carrasco in Austin, TX, we understand the complexities of the divorce process. Whether you’re considering filing for divorce first or responding to a divorce petition, our experienced team can provide the guidance and advocacy you need. We’re here to help you navigate the divorce proceedings, protect your interests, and work towards a favorable outcome.

About the Author
Ben Carrasco is a highly skilled family law attorney based in Austin, Texas, known for his extensive expertise in family law and business litigation. While his primary focus is family law, Ben brings a wealth of experience in litigating diverse business disputes, ranging from breach of contract and collections to business torts, fraud, and real estate matters. In his family law practice, Ben navigates all aspects of the field, including divorce, child custody, support, property division, and more, offering clients expert guidance throughout the litigation process. His legal journey began in complex commercial litigation, initially with a global law firm and later with a prominent Austin-based firm. However, driven by a desire to make a direct impact on people's lives and embrace the human element of the law, Ben transitioned to family law, a decision that has proven to be deeply rewarding. A proud Austin native with roots in California, Ben completed his undergraduate studies at the University of California, Berkeley, before earning his law degree at Stanford Law School, where he excelled in legal writing and served as an associate editor of the Stanford Law and Policy Review.