When contemplating divorce, one common question that often arises is whether it matters who takes the first step and files for divorce. Before you take the leap and file those papers, you should understand the significance of the petitioner’s role.
There are several different things to consider as you decide who should petition for divorce.
Initiating a divorce can have significant emotional implications for both parties. The partner who files may feel a sense of empowerment or control over the situation, while the other may experience a range of emotions, from surprise to hurt. However, the emotional impact is highly subjective and varies from person to person.
In many jurisdictions, the legal process is largely unaffected by which spouse files for divorce. Courts typically focus on equitable distribution of assets, child custody arrangements and spousal support based on the circumstances of the marriage, not on who filed first.
The initiating party can influence the financial aspects of divorce in certain cases. For instance, the spouse who files may have the opportunity to present their financial situation first, potentially shaping the court’s initial perceptions. Unfortunately, this does not guarantee a favorable outcome, as the court assesses financial matters based on the overall evidence presented.
The petitioner for divorce may carry some emotional weight, though it does not inherently tip the scales in favor of one party or the other. Despite that fact, women are more likely to file for divorce, with more than 1 million women seeking divorce in 2019. Understand the role that the petitioner plays to determine if you should file first.