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Pros and Cons of Filing for Divorce First in Florida

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve had a bunch of people ask me whether there is an advantage to filing for divorce first. This is added to my series of blog posts that answer frequently asked questions about the Florida divorce process.

In this post, we’ll explore the advantages and disadvantages of being the first to file for divorce in Florida. Whether you are considering filing for divorce or simply curious about how the divorce process would start, this post will provide valuable insights into the pros and cons of taking the first step.

So, does filing for divorce first in Florida give you any advantage in your case?

The answer to this question depends upon your unique situation.

There is no one size fits all.

Advantages and Reasons of Filing for Divorce First

There are a few scenarios though where I think filing first makes a big difference. I’ll explain each of the advantages in each section here… 

Florida’s “Date of Filing” Can Protect You From Your Spouse’s Future Debts and Overspending

One huge reason to file first is if your spouse is financially irresponsible.

When you file for divorce you establish what’s called “The Date of Filing” – meaning the day that you file your divorce documents.

In Florida generally speaking, any debt that your spouse incurs after “The Date of Filing” will be his or her debt moving forward.

Meaning, if you file for divorce on a Monday and then the next day your spouse puts $1,000 on their credit card to buy junk on Amazon then you won’t be responsible for that debt.

If however they buy the junk on Amazon on Sunday the day before you file for divorce then you could be responsible for half of their junk!

This is the case even if the credit card is only in your spouse’s name. It’s still considered marital debt and both spouse’s will be responsible for this.

Many people don’t realize the importance of “The Date of Filing” in Florida.

If you’re concerned about your spouse’s spending habits and know you definitely want a divorce then I would act sooner rather than later.

Gaining Control of the Divorce Process

One of the biggest advantages of filing first is that you have control over the process. By filing first, you can choose the venue (county where the case will be heard) of the divorce if there are multiple correct venues. This can give you a strategic advantage, as you will be able to control the timing and the location of the divorce.

Another advantage of filing for divorce first is that you can start the process of obtaining financial information from your spouse. This is especially important if your spouse is the one who manages the finances. Filing for divorce will allow you to obtain financial documents that you need to make sure that your rights are protected.

Filing for divorce first can give you the opportunity to seek temporary orders from the court. These orders can help you secure the assets and resources you need to move on with your life. This can be especially important if you need to move out of your marital residence or if you need financial support during the divorce proceedings.

Setting the Tone for Divorce Negotiations

Finally, filing for divorce first can help you to gain an upper hand in the negotiations. By filing first, you can ensure that your interests are represented from the beginning and you can also set the tone for the negotiations. This can be especially important if your spouse is unwilling to negotiate in good faith.  

Having a good divorce lawyer on your side can help you to ensure that your rights are protected and that you’re not taken advantage of during the divorce proceedings. Additionally, having a lawyer can help you to negotiate a fair settlement that is in your best interests.

Disadvantages of Filing for Divorce First in Florida

Higher Legal Fees At First

Since you’re the one initiating the divorce process, you may be responsible for the initial filing fees. It is important to consider all of these costs when deciding whether to file for divorce first.

If you expect to collect Alimony or “spousal support” once your divorce case is resolved, this could help make up for the initial legal fees you’ll pay in initiating the divorce process first.

Increased Stress and Pressure

Filing for divorce first can also bring an increased amount of stress and pressure on you. It can be difficult to make the decision to file for divorce and it can be even more difficult to take the first step. You may feel overwhelmed by the process and the emotions that come with it. Additionally, you may feel pressure to make sure that your interests are protected and that you’re getting a fair outcome. It is important to be prepared for the emotional and psychological toll that filing for divorce first may have on you.

Potential for Negative Reactions from Spouse

Finally, filing for divorce first can also bring potential negative reactions from your spouse. Your spouse may be angry or hurt that you are the one initiating the divorce and this could lead to a more contentious divorce process.

This could also lead to your spouse being less willing to negotiate in good faith or to cooperate in the process. It is important to be prepared for the potential of a negative reaction from your spouse and to be ready to handle it in a constructive way.

My free guide, “The 10 Secrets to Every Successful Divorce In Florida” has some helpful advice on how to approach your divorce case with the right type of mindset that can help make your case less stressful.


Filing for divorce first in Florida can be a difficult decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly. It’s important you consider all of the potential advantages and disadvantages before making a decision.

Ultimately, it is important to weigh all of these factors and make the decision that is best for your particular situation.

If you’re ready to get your case going then click here to book quick call with our intake specialist Vanessa.

Vanessa will be able to gather some facts about your situation and schedule an appointment with me. We’ll be able to discuss the particulars about your case and what your potential options are.

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