Is it better to be the plaintiff or defendant in a divorce?

Is it better to be the plaintiff or defendant in a divorce?


As divorce lawyers, we are often asked by our clients this question before we commence divorce:

Is it better to be the plaintiff or the defendant in a divorce?

There is often very little advantage or disadvantage to being the plaintiff as opposed to the defendant. However, there are some points worth considering.

The plaintiff initiates the divorce and is the party responsible for filing the first set of divorce papers in court.  The other party inevitably then becomes the defendant.


Is there an advantage to being the plaintiff to a divorce?

The are no substantial advantages to being the plaintiff.  However, some people prefer to be the plaintiff.  Here are some reasons:

  1. As the plaintiff is the party starting the divorce, they have to assign some blame on the defendant (unless the plaintiff is proceeding on 3 or 4 years’ separation).  Some people find closure in assigning blame especially if the other spouse has treated them quite badly.
  2. Some people too prefer to be the plaintiff because they don’t want to be blindsided if their spouse files first.  They prefer to blindside the other spouse.
  3. Some people also prefer to be the plaintiff because they want to drive the divorce action.  The plaintiff is responsible for applying to court for each stage of the action.
  4. Being the plaintiff and the first to file gives the impression that they wanted the divorce, as opposed to being the party who did not want the divorce.
  5. If you are the plaintiff, it means thet you have had the time to choose your divorce lawyer, and to assemble your team.  You don’t have to scramble around to look for a divorce lawyer.
  6. Some spouses may hide assets and financial information during the divorce process. Filing first may prevent your spouse from hiding assets.
  7. It is important to have in your possession copies of all relevant financial and legal documents. Filing first means that you’ll have all your documentation organized before divorce papers are served.


Talk to us

Many people become paralysed by indecision when faced with such a monumental question as whether to file for divorce, and some just decide to wait until their spouses file first. This is of course not a decision to be taken lightly. Those who want to divorce and suspect that their spouse may also file for divorce should speak with an experienced divorce lawyer.

Call PKWA Law at tel 6854-5336 for your free consult at our office.



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At PKWA Law, our team of Family Lawyers are consistently named as leading Singapore family and divorce lawyers by respected legal publications such as Benchmark Litigation Asia Pacific, Asian Legal Business, Singapore Business Review and Doyle’s Guide to Leading Singapore Family & Divorce Lawyers. 

Contact us at tel 6854-5336 for a free first consultation. 


PKWA Divorce Lawyers recognised in Straits Times Singapore's Best Law Firms 2021
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