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Paul E. Riffel Tampa Estate Planning Attorney

‘Should I file for divorce first?’

“Should I file for divorce first?” is a question many people ask. Many want to know if they should be the one to file divorce. In other words, is there an advantage to being the petitioner or the respondent?

Generally, there is no strategic benefit in filing the petition first, other than the ability to present your case first at the final hearing and being able to present the closing argument first with rebuttal, which means your attorney would have the last word.

Both parties generally file petitions, and the respondent files a Counter Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. This way, both parties are asking for affirmative relief from the court. Discovery is not affected by being the petitioner or respondent.

Some people have a moral opposition to being the one who files the petition. In that case, it is appropriate to ask the other spouse to file first so that you can file an Answer and a Counter Petition.

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