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Does It Matter Who Files For Divorce First?


Many people come to us after their spouse files for divorce, concerned that they are now at a disadvantage because they didn’t file first. While it’s true that there are some benefits to being the person who files for divorce, it is by no means a determining factor in the outcome of the eventual divorce proceedings. Read on to learn more about the ins and outs of filing for divorce in Florida, including the repercussions of being the spouse who submits the petition, initiating the divorce process.

Petitioners and Respondents 

In Florida, the spouse who files for divorce is referred to as the petitioner while the other party is known as the respondent. There isn’t really a significant legal advantage or disadvantage to being a petitioner or a respondent when it comes to divorce. There could, however, be a procedural advantage to being the person who files for divorce. The petitioner, for instance, can set the tone of the initial divorce proceedings and could even have more control over the timing and pace of those proceedings. Realistically, however, these advantages are relatively minimal and won’t usually have a significant impact on the outcome of the divorce.

What Does Filing for Divorce Entail? 

How a person goes about filing for divorce in Florida will depend on whether he or she is filing for a regular dissolution or a simplified dissolution. To file for the less adversarial and less expensive Simplified Dissolution of Marriage, couples must agree on how to distribute their marital assets and must be willing to waive their right to alimony, a trial, and an appeal. The parties also cannot share any minor children. In these cases, both parties must sign a petition for simplified dissolution and attend a final hearing, after which their divorce can be finalized.

To file for a regular dissolution of marriage, on the other hand, the person filing for divorce must submit a petition in the local circuit court where the parties live. In this document, the petitioner will claim that the marriage is irretrievably broken and will lay out a plan for alimony, property division, and child custody. Once this petition has been filed, the respondent will be given time to file an answer, either agreeing with the petitioner’s request or countering with a different settlement proposal.

Contact Experienced Florida Divorce Lawyer Sandra Bonfiglio, P.A. Today 

To learn more about the divorce process, including how to go about filing your initial petition, feel free to reach out to skilled Fort Lauderdale divorce attorney Sandra Bonfiglio, P.A. today. We can walk you through the divorce filing process and help ensure that you have the best chance of reaching an agreement that is in your family’s interest. You can set up a case review by calling our office at 954-945-7591 or by completing one of our online contact forms. Initial consultations are offered free of charge, so don’t hesitate to reach out to us by phone or online message at your earliest convenience.




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