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What Are The Pros And Cons Of Filing For Divorce First?


Often, when both spouses realize that their marriage is doomed to end, it is only a matter of time before one of them files for divorce. But should you be the first one to file divorce papers?

Does it even matter who initiates the process in Florida? And what are the possible pros and cons of filing for divorce first?

If you are considering filing a petition for divorce, it is highly advised to consult with a Tampa divorce attorney to understand your rights as the Petitioner.

Pros of Filing for Divorce First

Let’s review the benefits of being the first to file for divorce.

  1. You have more time to prepare

The most obvious advantage is that you will have more time to prepare for the divorce because you are the one initiating it. As a result, you can have more time to gather the necessary documentation and build a successful legal strategy with the help of your attorney.

  1. You can choose the jurisdiction

In Florida, one of the requirements to file for divorce is that at least one spouse must have resided in the state for no less than six months before the petition for divorce is filed. The Petitioner must file for divorce in the county where he/she resides. So, if you and your spouse live apart in different counties, you can ensure that your divorce case will be heard in your county’s court by filing the petition in your county.

  1. You can protect your assets and finances

Once you file for divorce, you are no longer liable for the debts incurred by your spouse after the date the petition is filed. However, you are still responsible for any debt in your name during the marriage. Filing for divorce first gives you the opportunity to protect your finances and assets before the divorce proceedings begin.

  1. You have more control over the process

By being first to file for divorce, you take the process under your own control. If your spouse is reluctant to get divorced or tells you, “let’s not rush things,” you can have more control by filing the petition for divorce instead of delaying the inevitable.

Cons of Filing for Divorce First

While there are several advantages of filing for divorce first, you should also review the possible drawbacks of being the Petitioner, not the Respondent.

  1. You have to take responsibility for ending your marriage. Since you are the one who initiates the divorce process, you must take responsibility for ending your marriage instead of trying to fix it. For many, this is a rather big responsibility to take on.
  2. You must pay the filing fees. The spouse who files divorce papers is required to pay the filing fees in order to initiate the legal proceedings. Without the filing fee, the court will not accept your petition for divorce.

If you are unsure about being the first to file for divorce, consult with an attorney. At HD Law Partners, our divorce lawyers will explain your rights and options in your specific situation and help you navigate the divorce process whether you are the Petitioner or Respondent. Call 813-964-7878 for a case evaluation.

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