Some lawyers in Rhode Island do believe that there is an advantage to filing first. There are several reasons.
1. If you file first then the rationale is that the judge just might see it as the fact that the Plaintiff filed first in the divorce because something was so wrong with the Defendant that he or she couldn't stand their spouse anymore. Therefore, if a judge believed this then the natural question in the judge's mind just might be "What is wrong with the Defendant?" If this is the question it immediately places the Defendant on the defense in the divorce when, in fact, there may be nothing wrong with the Defendant other than simply agreeing with the spouse that he or she would do the filing.
2. Some attorneys who practice divorce in Rhode Island also have the idea that by filing first they can depict the Defendant as a bad person such that the Plaintiff had to file for divorce because of the Defendant's actions which were no longer tolerable. In fact it could be true that the Defendant's actions had nothing to do with it but rather that the Plaintiff simply fell in love with someone else and had an affair. However, appearances to the court and how and attoney depicts the parties drastically affects how the court takes the direction of the divorce proceeding.
3. Another philosophy of some lawyers goes with a practice generally used with women that they should in some way create a situation in which the woman can reasonably say that she is in fear of imminent bodily injury to herself and then, if the affidavit to the court is worded just right, the woman can obtain a Protection from Abuse Order against that man which not only orders "No Contact" with the wife but also usually orders the man out of his own home even if he has no place to go. Typically judges err on the side of caution and grant Requests for Protection from Abuse Orders to protect women whereas with men it is rare that such petitions are made, let alone granted. This is the perfect preemptive strike to get the husband out of the house during a divorce since the Notice of Automatic Orders of Divorce which are served with a divorce proceeding prohibit one spouse from exclusing the other spouse from the marital domicile if they are living together at the time the Notice of Automatic Orders are put in place. In fact, the granting of a Protection from Abuse Order which forces a man out of his home during a divorce is the only "effective" was of getting the opposing spouse out of the home once a divorce has started.
Based upon the above, it is a philosophy of many attorneys to encourage their clients that if they get into any situation that might cause a reasonabe belief of imminent harm (even if it doesn't) should be used as a means to get a Protection from Abuse Order and get the husband out of the house. To say the least it is a very prevalent philosophy to help clients gain an advantange in a divorce proceeding by making the Defendant husband appear as a Domestic Violence Abuser when, in fact he his not and the entitle episode may be completely a bogus setup simply to get the husband spouse out of the house.
Once a husband is tainted as an abuser before the court, even if he has not been proven to be an abuser, is likely to affect your divorce judge's decisions in the case.
These are only a few of the philosophies held and used by RI Divorce lawyers. You can judge for yourself the morality and level of professional ethics the attorney has based upon the attorney's recommendation.
There are, of course numerous other lawyer philosophies in divorce proceedings regarding who should file first. These are merely a few of the philosophies I have witnessed used in the Rhode Island Court System.
Which lawyer would you want? Would you want a lawyer that advises you to fraudulently create a situation which allows you the power to remove your spouse from the house? Or is your integrity stronger than that?
Ethics and morality often enter into these philosophical divorce questions and they then become a matter of what you are willing to do to achieve your goals.
My hope is that honor and integrity still exisits in most people these days and that the court is not used fraudulently as a tool to achieve whatever you want.
All my Best to All Who Go Before the Rhode Island Family Court,
I am Attorney Christopher A. Pearsall and I am "The Rhode Island Divorce Coach."