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In New Jersey, the person who files for divorce first is often referred to as the "plaintiff," while the other party is known as the "defendant." In terms of the legal process and outcome of the divorce, there is generally no significant advantage to being the plaintiff or defendant in terms of the final settlement or court decisions. The court's decisions regarding issues like child custody, child support, alimony, property division, and more are based on the facts and circumstances of the case, rather than who filed for divorce first. However, there can be some minor strategic considerations for who files for divorce first:

  1. Choice of Court: The person who files for divorce may have the option to choose the county where the divorce proceedings will take place. This could be relevant if one party lives in a county with more favorable laws or procedures.

  2. Timing: If there are certain time-sensitive issues, such as a need for immediate child custody arrangements or a temporary support order, filing first might allow the initiating party to address these matters sooner.

  3. Psychological and Emotional Impact: Filing for divorce first can sometimes give the initiating party a sense of control or empowerment, as they are taking an active step in the process.

  4. Preparation: The person filing for divorce first might have had more time to gather necessary documents, consult with an attorney, and be prepared for the process.

  5. Perception of Aggressiveness: While this isn't necessarily a legal advantage, some people feel that filing first presents them as being proactive or assertive in the divorce process.

It's important to note that the specific circumstances of each case can vary widely, and what might be considered an advantage in one situation may not be relevant in another. If you are considering filing for divorce or responding to a divorce filing in New Jersey, it's recommended that you consult with an experienced family law attorney who can provide personalized advice based on your situation.


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