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Does It Matter Who Files for Divorce First?



Depending on your circumstances, taking the first step and filing for divorce may put you at an advantage and give you better control over the outcome of the separation.

filing for divorce

It’s odd to talk about getting the upper hand when it comes to a life moment so sensitive and complicated as divorce. However, having an advantage over your soon to be ex-spouse can save you a lot of emotional and financial stress.

You may think that it’s really not that important who files for divorce first as the outcome is the same regardless: you get separated from your partner. However, here is how making the first step can potentially benefit you.

You Have the Time to Find the Right Lawyer

If your spouse files first, you will be served papers. Missouri law then gives you 30 days to respond. This often leaves a person scrambling to find a lawyer to take on their case. If you file first, you will have the time you need to find a St. Louis divorce attorney who will represent your best interests and help you achieve the best possible outcome.

You Have Time to Gather All the Needed Documents

A divorce is a bureaucratic hassle. If your partner files first, then you will spend time and money trying to gather all the financial and legal documents required. If your spouse refuses to provide some of them, then things can get overly complicated and costly.

If you file first, then you will have enough time to prepare all the documents needed and save yourself money and your mental sanity.

You May Have the First Choice of Court

Divorces are filed for and settle in the jurisdiction both or one of the spouses live in. If you have property both in Missouri and Florida, for example, you may be surprised to learn the differences in the law regarding child custody, division of assets, spousal support, and so on. Moreover, if your partner moved to another state and they file for divorce first, then you will likely have to follow the laws of that jurisdiction. All that can work to your disadvantage. 

You Have Time to Prepare Yourself Emotionally

Filing for divorce first comes with emotional benefits too. If you are in a toxic or abusive relationship, taking the first step can feel empowering. You have the time to come to terms with the fact that your marriage ended and take action. Instead of reacting to your spouse filing first, you are in control of your own life and destiny. And, you need that kind of mindset during a difficult and stressful period like a divorce.

Speak With an Attorney

There will be lots of variables that you can’t control or foresee. Taking the first step and filing for divorce may put you at an advantage and give you better control over the outcome of the separation.

Discuss the pros and cons of filing for divorce first with an experienced St. Louis family law lawyer and decide together what your next move should be. Give The Betz Law Firm a call today at (314) 801-8488