Because a divorce case cannot begin without one of the spouses initiating it (by petitioning or filing for divorce), there are many advantages to being the one who does start the divorce process. Being the Petitioner, as the phrase has been coined, comes with having more control over the timing of certain events, such as some scheduling matters that mostly take place at the beginning of the case. It is a significant advantage in filing a divorce.

For instance, being able to control when the case starts allows them to pick a start time that is most convenient for them. If you are the Petitioner, you can wait until your divorce attorney has all of the documents in order and ready, and the ones that must be served upon, the Respondent, can be served at the least convenient time for it.

With regard to child custody, the Petitioner can also have their attorney file for what is known as an emergency injunction at the time the case is filed. This step is usually taken when there is a legitimate fear that one of the parents will kidnap or abuse the child. This injunction is a safeguard against a parent responding emotionally to discovering that the other spouse has filed for divorce.

By having the control of scheduling different court dates, a parent can set up hearings where issues of child custody, child visitation, and child support will be handled. This doesn’t necessarily expedite the process nor does it ensure custody by any stretch of the word, but most would agree that having some type of control over these matters is preferable compared to the opposite.

As always, you should discuss this with your divorce attorney who can give you the best advice on how to proceed, and what is in your best interest.