In the minds of some people, filing for divorce is the same thing as admitting defeat or taking on responsibility for the failure of the marriage. As a result, there are couples who wind up in a divorce stalemate.

Neither party is happy anymore, and both want to divorce. However, neither spouse is willing to take the necessary step of actually filing a petition for divorce. Couples may live in relationship limbo for months or even years by trying to wait each other out and refusing to be the one to take the first step.

Being the one to file for divorce doesn’t mean that you assume full responsibility for the end of the marriage. Instead, it means you take responsibility for your life and your future by planning for something that will make you happier.

Being the one to file means you don’t get caught unprepared

Even if you know you and your spouse have been on bad terms recently, it can feel like getting blindsided when you get served with divorce paperwork. During those initial, emotional days where you process the fact that you will soon wind up in family court, it can be difficult to make rational and well-researched decisions about protecting yourself.

By being the one to file for divorce, you take it upon yourself to prepare yourself for the inevitable by finding the right help and beginning to strategize early.

You can get the paperwork you need and avoid hidden assets

Especially in high-asset divorces, it’s possible for one spouse to hide assets and try to prevent their soon-to-be-ex from getting their hands on household financial records, like tax returns and check stubs. When you take the first step, you have the time to collect your own copies of records and take action before your spouse can try to hide assets from you.

You have more control over the narrative when you are the one who initiates divorce

Is there anything more awkward than needing to explain to co-workers or friends that your ex served you with divorce paperwork when you were out for your standard Thursday night drinks with your coworkers? Being able to decide when a divorce starts means that you get to be the one who had to make a tough decision, not the one who someone left.