Does It Matter Who Files First for Divorce in Missouri?

One question that often arises is whether it matters who files for divorce first. While there is no clear-cut answer to this question, several factors can influence the outcome of the divorce proceedings.

In Missouri, the person who files for divorce is known as the “petitioner,” and the other spouse is known as the “respondent.” In general, there is no significant advantage or disadvantage to being the petitioner or respondent in a Missouri divorce. However, there are some factors to consider when filing for divorce in Missouri.

Possible Advantages of Filing First

In some cases, the spouse who files for divorce first may have an advantage in the divorce proceedings. This is because the spouse who files first can set the tone for the divorce proceedings and may be able to control the timing of the divorce. For example, if the spouse who files first can set a date for the divorce proceedings, they may be able to choose a time when they are in a stronger financial position, which could give them an advantage in negotiations.

Additionally, the spouse who files for divorce first may be able to choose the jurisdiction where the divorce proceedings occur. This is important because different states have different laws regarding divorce and property division. By selecting a more favorable jurisdiction for their position, the spouse who files first may achieve a better outcome.

Potential Disadvantages

On the other hand, there are potential disadvantages to being the spouse who files for divorce first. For example, the spouse who files first may be perceived as the aggressor or the instigator of the divorce. This could potentially damage their reputation and hurt their standing in the divorce proceedings.

Furthermore, being the first to file for divorce could lead to higher legal fees and costs. This is because the spouse who files first is typically responsible for paying the initial filing fees and may need to cover the costs of preparing and filing the necessary legal documents.

Each situation is Different

Ultimately, whether it matters who files for divorce first depends on the specific circumstances of the divorce proceedings. In some cases, being the spouse who files first can provide an advantage, while in others, it may be more advantageous to wait for the other spouse to file. It is essential for both parties to carefully consider their options and consult with a qualified divorce attorney before making any decisions.

How The Betz Law Firm Can Help

At The Betz Law Firm, we aim to guide our clients successfully through their important, life-changing events. In family law matters, our firm understands that resolving issues through mediation and negotiation will yield better results for both parties. While we are a team of successful litigators, we will set a tone that minimizes animosity and promotes cooperation. Our experience has been that mediation is a preferred alternative to court trials and litigation.

Speak With an Experienced Attorney

Our firm uses experience, good communication, and availability to help families navigate life-changing events.