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DuPage County divorce attorneyIt is a trope that is played out in movies and on television regularly: a married couple is unhappy—possibly even separated—but neither wants to take action and file a petition for divorce. This situation could just as easily happen in real life. For some people, there may be a psychological barrier that prevents them from being the one to formally ask for a divorce. While such feelings are understandable, you may be able to reap a few unexpected benefits by filing your divorce petition before your spouse does.

The Legal Side

From a legal perspective, there is not much advantage to be gained by being the first to file. Unlike other types of civil court proceedings, there is no burden of proof that is automatically assumed by either side. This is especially true since Illinois eliminated fault-based divorce in 2016. Technically, the spouse who files is the plaintiff or petitioner, and the other spouse is the defendant or respondent. Both parties have equal rights to make requests, present evidence, and file motions.

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DuPage County divorce lawyersMarriages end in many different ways. Sometimes both spouses know that they no longer wish to be married and make the joint decision to get a divorce. Other times, one spouse announces that they want a divorce to the complete shock and dismay of the other spouse. Perhaps most commonly, a couple knows that their marriage is not doing well for months or even years before taking legal action. Both spouses hesitate to make the first move legally because they are unsure of how to even begin. They may try to hold on as long as possible before making the move to file for divorce. If you are considering divorce, you may wonder if it matters who actually files for divorce first. The answer is not simple, and there are a few factors to consider.

The Advantages of Filing First

It is important to understand that there are no real legal benefits to filing for divorce before your spouse does. During the proceedings, both you and your spouse will be subject to the same standards and have equal opportunities to make your cases to the court.

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From our law office in Wheaton, IL the family law and civil litigation law attorneys of Mirabella, Kincaid, Frederick and Mirabella, represent businesses and individual clients throughout the western suburbs of Chicago, Illinois including Wheaton, Naperville, Oak Brook, Glen Ellyn, Carol Stream, Lombard, Downers Grove, Burr Ridge, Lisle, Elmhurst, Oakbrook Terrace, Winfield, Woodridge, Warrenville and throughout DuPage, Kane and Kendall Counties.

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