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Does it matter who files for divorce first in Florida?

Posted by Antonio G. Jimenez, Esq. | Apr 20, 2023 | 0 Comments

In Florida, the spouse who files for divorce first is known as the "petitioner," while the other spouse is referred to as the "respondent." From a legal standpoint, there is generally no significant advantage or disadvantage to being the petitioner or respondent in a divorce case in Florida. Florida is a "no-fault" divorce state, which means that a spouse does not need to prove fault or wrongdoing by the other spouse to obtain a divorce. Instead, a spouse can state that the marriage is irretrievably broken, and that is sufficient grounds for obtaining a divorce in Florida.

Florida follows the principle of "equitable distribution" when dividing marital assets and liabilities, which means that the court will strive to divide marital property and debts fairly and equitably, though not necessarily equally. The court will consider various factors, such as the length of the marriage, the financial situation of both spouses and other relevant factors, in determining the division of assets and liabilities, regardless of whether a spouse filed for divorce first or second.

There may be some procedural advantages to being the petitioner, such as having the ability to set the initial tone of the divorce case and potentially having more control over the timing and pace of the proceedings. However, these advantages are typically minimal and may not significantly impact the divorce case's overall outcome.

It's important to note that the specific circumstances of each divorce case can vary, and the outcome of a divorce in Florida will depend on various factors, including the facts of the case, the applicable laws, and the court's decisions. If you are considering filing for divorce in Florida or are a respondent in a divorce case, it's recommended to consult with an experienced family law attorney who can provide legal advice based on your specific situation and help protect your rights throughout the divorce process.

About the Author

Antonio G. Jimenez, Esq.

Managing Attorney and Founder

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