Who Should File For Divorce First if You Both Know The Marriage is Ending

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When you are confident there is nothing to do about your marriage to repair it anymore and divorce is the only next obvious step, another question is who should take it. In fact, you have not two but even three variants on who should file for divorce first. It can be either you, or your partner, or you can prepare and hand in the papers together. Learn the peculiarities of every option and have the process rolling with no hesitation. 

Why It Is Good to File for Divorce First

Going after divorce first is a brave option but a beneficial one, too. So when you discover how to get divorce papers online and are to process with them, get ready to collect the subsequent advances:

  1. Power over the flow – a divorcee who is first to file is named the petitioner. The petitioner roughly obtains full control over the divorce flow, sets the agenda, schedules negotiations, and the mood of the procedures. Meanwhile, the respondent will usually follow the tempo the petitioner has settled.
  2. Deciding on jurisdiction – when you are the one to appeal to marriage termination first you are free to pick out where you want your end-of-marriage process to happen. You can pick the jurisdiction that is closer to you if you live in different places, for instance. Plus, you can opt for the variant which has more comfortable laws and requirements for your situation. 
  3. Legal perks – the petitioner is the first to present the case both through filing and in court. This implies they are there to produce the first impression of the situation and set the tone for the whole process.

Although it may seem to you that being a petitioner is the only option for you to acquire a winning position in the case, the benefits shouldn’t define who should file for divorce first. But it is you who ought to be confident about the decision and have a sheer desire to pioneer in a marriage termination procedure. 

Factors to consider when deciding who should file for divorce first if both parties know the marriage is ending:

Factor to ConsiderReasons to File FirstReasons Not to File First
Strategic AdvantageFiling first may allow you to have greater control over the process, such as choosing the jurisdiction or timing of the divorce.Filing first may not provide any strategic advantage, and could be seen as aggressive or adversarial.
Emotional ControlFiling first may give you a sense of control and empowerment during a difficult time.Waiting for the other person to file may give you more time to process your emotions and make a more reasoned decision.
Financial ConsiderationsFiling first may allow you to establish financial boundaries or obtain temporary financial support during the divorce process.Waiting for the other person to file may give you more time to gather financial information and plan for the future.
Privacy ConcernsFiling first may allow you to control the narrative and keep your personal information private.Waiting for the other person to file may allow you to avoid the public spotlight and the potential for gossip or rumors.
Legal StrategyFiling first may allow you to set the tone for the divorce process and potentially negotiate a more favorable settlement.Waiting for the other person to file may allow you to assess their strategy and respond accordingly.

Why It Is Bad to File for Divorce First

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Sometimes, being a petitioner is not the best option for you to go after. Learn when asking for the official end of the marriage first will not bring you any good but make a situation more complicated instead:

  1. Emotional strain – being the pioneer in your divorce may give you the label of the one who ruined the family. Although you may both understand that marriage termination is the very right step, a petitioner may feel anxious and guilty about the need to initiate the process anyway. Plus, your friends and relatives sometimes don’t see the whole picture and simply put the blame on the person who appealed to divorce first.
  2. Increased conflict potential – when you initiate the marriage termination, especially without prior discussion with your partner, your choice may be seen as aggressive. Your partner will set in defensive but not cooperative mode. You will have a complicated process as a result. 
  3. Higher legal cost – as soon as your partner is set in a defensive mode, get ready for the procedure to get complex and turbulent so that you may waste much money before you can finally arrive at an agreement or have the judge propose a compromise for you. Anyway, a petitioner usually pays more filing fees than the respondent whether your divorce is amicable or not. 

If you are confident you are the one who should file for divorce first, be ready for possible unpleasant side effects. In case your partner misinterprets your approach to divorce, you have to deal with serious obstacles for your fruitful cooperation and peaceful agreement. 

Why It Is Better to File for Divorce Together

A great solution here is to file a joint petition for divorce. This is where you won’t be upset if your husband filed for divorce first, and your partner won’t misjudge your intentions on marriage termination. Instead, you will discuss everything beforehand openly, find a mutually beneficial solution, and go for divorce with the following benefits:

  1. Saved money – you will spend twice less on filing fees and any other legal expenses if you file only one petition together. 
  2. Readiness to cooperate – when you ask for marriage termination together, it is obvious you are both ready to commit to the agreement on custody, property distribution, etc. This sets a friendly tone to the whole process and aids you to deal with any issue without much turbulence. 
  3. Streamlined process – when you file for marriage termination together, you already skip the step of serving your former beloved. Plus, if you have ideas on how to find or have already found a compromise, you will save much time on negotiations. 
  4. Privacy – when filing the divorce petition and coming to an agreement quickly, you can cope with the divorce case out of court. This implies you will deal with your situation privately without third parties being involved and getting to know your case’s private details. 
  5. Reduced stress – with a cooperative and peaceful divorce you will feel less stressed and tense. You will settle an agreement quickly and find beneficial ways out for both of you. Eventually, your divorce will be a smooth transition to the next life stage but not a drastic challenge

Although joint filing has an extensive list of benefits, it doesn’t suit every single case. If your partner isn’t cooperative, there is no point to appeal for divorce together before you can settle any agreement. Plus if there is an issue of domestic violence or any other case of inappropriate behavior in your family, it is hardly possible and far from suitable to ask for divorce together. This means that a joint petition can streamline and simplify your case only if it suits your situation. 


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If you wonder whether it is best to file for divorce first in your situation, you should better learn how different scenarios may impact your case. On one hand, becoming a petitioner may grant you more control and freedom to make beneficial decisions in your case. On the other hand, it burdens you with more responsibility, a waste of resources, and stress. Plus, the joint petition is quite an option that can help you avoid turbulence in divorce but it cannot be a unique solution for each and every situation.

Your task is to analyze closely what your possible variants are. Check out the peculiarities of every choice and possible outcomes. Consult a skilled and trustworthy lawyer to help you with the best suitable way out of your situation. And choose what is the most beneficial choice so that you can pass on smoothly to the very next stage in your life.

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