‘This question gets asked at least once a week. Most of the time, it does not matter who files first for divorce in Washington. But, that’s not really the question you should be asking.
What you really meant to ask was does it matter who files first for temporary orders in divorce in Washington?
Yes, it matters. Here’s why. When husband and wife go into the court room to settle their divorce case, one party will file a motion for temporary orders. The motion is what triggers the behind the scenes action that causes you to get in front of a judge. The party that files the motion gets to set the stage or frame the argument for the temporary order hearing, after all, her orders are what the judge reads first. Then the judge reads the responsive material and then once again, the judge reads the strict reply. Notice, the person bringing the motion for temporary orders gets the advantage of having the judge read their stuff first and their stuff last. In addition, the person bringing the motion usually has had the benefit of weeks to prepare. Where as the party responding has a mere week or less to draft a response and gather all of their financial material. This means that the quality of work from the respondent in the motion is usually of less quality than the party bringing the motion because they simply had less time to produce it. So if you are thinking that you must go to court to resolve your divorce, remember that it’s not who files the divorce papers that matters but who files the motion that matters.