If you and your partner have been considering divorce, this might be one of the most stressful and emotionally challenging times in your life. Perhaps you and your spouse have come to the conclusion that you should get divorced. Or, maybe your partner has been threatening divorce and you are worried that you might be served divorce papers. Or, maybe you have been thinking about getting divorced and are wondering what your next steps should be. Should you file first? Should you discuss the matter with your partner first? When it comes to filing for divorce, one party must make the first move and file. But does it matter who files for divorce?

The person who files for divorce is known as the “plaintiff” and the person who receives the divorce paperwork is known as the “defendant.” If you and your partner have discussed your divorce, and you both agree that divorce is the next right step for your family, and are ready to file, it generally doesn’t matter who files for divorce. The courts will view the plaintiff and defendant in a divorce case impartially. However, if you are expecting a contentious divorce, if your partner doesn’t want to divorce, or if you are concerned that your partner might hide money and assets, filing first for divorce can have some tactical advantages, according to USAttorneys.com. What are some of these advantages?

  • The Benefits of Being Proactive Rather Than Reactive. Taking proactive action to end your marriage if you believe it is time for your marriage to end has certain benefits. You can gather important documentation and evidence before you file for divorce to protect yourself. You can also retain a divorce lawyer before you file, who can help you put together all the information you’ll need ahead of time. The Aikin Family Law Group are divorce lawyers in Orlando, Florida who can guide you through the process and help you put together the resources and documents you’ll need to successfully file for divorce and meet your divorce goals. Once divorce paperwork has been filed, you only have a limited amount of time to gather paperwork and to get your affairs in order. If no one has filed, you can set your own deadlines with your divorce lawyer.
  • Financial Planning. Divorce can be costly and single life can be more expensive than married life. Before filing for divorce, you can review your financial situation and save money so that you can have a good exit plan for your marriage. The Aikin Family Law Group are divorce attorneys in Orlando, Florida who can review your situation and help you understand likely outcomes for your divorce. In some cases, individuals might be able to seek alimony, while in other cases, the marriage might have been too short for alimony to be awarded. If this is the case, you may need to prepare by improving your skills or resume.
  • Protecting Your Children. If you want to seek sole custody for your children, or if you are leaving an abusive relationship where domestic violence has been an issue, filing for divorce can be a scary prospect when children are involved. However, with the assistance of your divorce lawyer, you can put together evidence you’ll need to build a strong case for custody and a strong case to protect your children.
  • Who files for divorce first might matter if you and your partner live in separate states. The partner who files first will establish where the divorce case will be heard. Different states may have different laws regarding division of property and assets. So, if you and your partner live in separate states and are able to negotiate about who should file first, you both might want to consult your lawyers in your respective states to determine where your case might best be held. If you have children, generally the partner who files is the one who has custody of the children. A divorce attorney like the Aikin Family Law Group in Orlando, Florida can review your situation and help you understand how the first person to file for divorce can shape the course of your divorce case.

These are just some of a ways in which filing first for divorce can be beneficial. While the benefits are largely tactical, if you and your partner live in separate states, there can be other benefits to carefully considering who will file for divorce first. The Aikin Family Law Group are divorce lawyers in Orlando, Florida who work closely with individuals who are going through divorce. We understand that the decision to file for divorce can be one of the toughest ones you’ll make in your life. However, sometimes the brave thing is to act first. Contact our firm today to learn about the next steps you can take to begin moving forward with your life.

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