On behalf of The Law Office of Gustavo E. Frances, P.A.
Breaking up with someone is one of the most difficult decisions a person can face in their life. In fact, in our society, there is a stigma associated with being the one broken up with, while the one who initiates a breakup is thought to have the upper hand from an emotional and psychological standpoint.
But how true is it for divorces? Does the spouse who initiates the dissolution of marriage has the upper hand over the spouse?
In the context of emotional and psychological impact, the Petitioner (the party who files for divorce) has an advantage, especially if the other spouse was not aware of the Petitioner’s decision to end marriage. “From a legal standpoint, on the other hand, it makes little to no difference which spouse files for divorce first,” says our Fort Lauderdale divorce attorney at the Law Office of Gustavo E. Frances, P.A.
Nonetheless, it still does matter which spouse initiates the divorce action.
Petitioner vs. Respondent: who has the legal advantage?
When a marriage is on the rocks and the two spouses have differences, both parties may have thought about filing for divorce at least once. But when one of the spouses is happily married or simply “okay” with being married, but the other spouse is suffering or for some other reason wants to end the marriage, the latter filing for divorce may catch their spouse off guard.
But do you actually get the upper hand over your spouse if you file for divorce first? Are there any advantages to being the Petitioner (the party who initiates the divorce) rather than the Respondent (the party who gets served with divorce papers)?
Providing a cause for the dissolution of marriage
“Since Florida is a no-fault divorce state, it does not matter which of the spouses files for divorce first,” says our experienced divorce attorney Fort Lauderdale. “When divorce papers are filed, neither party has a legal obligation to provide a cause of the dissolution of marriage.”
Instead, Florida law requires the spouses to tell the court that their marriage is “irretrievably broken” in order to get divorced. In this regard, you do not get an advantage over your spouse if you are the one who initiates the divorce.
You DO get the upper hand if you file for divorce first
However, in a sense, you do get the upper hand if you are the initiator of the divorce. That is because once you have been served with divorce papers, you have only 20 days to answer in your divorce case. That means you have less than three weeks to consult with the best divorce lawyers in Florida and come up with a legal strategy for all of the issues in your case, including but not limited to alimony, property division, child custody, and child support, among other things.
The failure to answer within 20 days after you were served with divorce papers will result in a default against you. If the default is granted by the court, you, as the Respondent, will be unable to object to any of the terms outlined by your spouse in his or her original Petition for Dissolution of Marriage.
Luckily for you, our Fort Lauderdale divorce attorney at the Law Office of Gustavo E. Frances, P.A., has vast experience in handling divorces and will help you navigate the divorce process and formulate an effective plan to get everything you want from a divorce in a fast-paced manner. You have no time to waste – get a free consultation today.
Advantages and disadvantages of initiating a divorce
The only advantage of being the Respondent in a divorce is that you do not have to pay the filing fee to initiate the case. So apart from the emotional/psychological impact, the waiting period to answer in a divorce case, and the obligation to pay the fee for submitting divorce paper, it makes no difference who initiates the divorce action.