My Spouse Just Asked for a Divorce. What Do I Do?

Perhaps you saw it coming, or maybe you didn’t. It’s never easy to hear your spouse say out loud: “I want a divorce.” What you do next matters for your finances, mental health, and children. A Prescott divorce attorney can help you take control of your future. In addition to answering your questions, an attorney can advise you of your rights and assist you in exploring your options. Additionally, she can help assure you that you will be okay, and you will be.

Before we discuss a divorce action plan, let’s clarify one thing: when we say “asking for a divorce,” we mean telling you they want one, not serving you with papers. Once you receive a petition and related papers, you have minimal time to respond, which is why you should find a lawyer as soon as possible (more on that below).

Five Things You Should Do if Your Spouse Asks for a Divorce

  1. Keep a Calm Disposition and Listen Carefully.
    The news that your spouse wants a divorce can feel like a slap in the face, and it can be challenging to respond rationally. It may feel like you have a million questions and deserve answers. For now, you should limit your questions to figuring out your next steps. Are they sure they want a divorce, or would they consider saving the marriage? Has your spouse sought legal advice? Is a divorce already in progress?A spouse asking for a divorce may seem out of nowhere to you, but some sources report that, on average, it takes two years for a spouse to request one. You may be scrambling to catch up while your spouse has already made a decision. You can get the information you need by remaining calm during this conversation.
  2. Don’t Make Decisions Right Away.
    As soon as your spouse informs you that they want a divorce, they may want to move full speed ahead with the proceedings. As for you, you’re still sitting, confused and dazed, in the wreckage of the life you had planned. It is not a good time to make any agreements you may regret in the future.It’s okay for you to take time to think about your divorce and what you want. Your spouse has had time to consider it; you deserve it, too. Keep calm if your spouse pushes back angrily. Use the script, “Please understand that you have had more time to adjust to this than I have. My goal is to make the best decision for our family.”
  3. Get (The Right) Support. It’s Essential.
    You may seek comfort and support when your spouse asks for a divorce, especially if the news is unexpected. Be careful: the easiest route may not be the best. In this case, we’re talking about social media. Sharing your news on social media can quickly bring you words of support from far and wide and (as you may secretly hope) words of condemnation for your spouse. But venting your feelings on social media can backfire in a divorce. Posts can be deleted, but screenshots cannot be; if you can, stay off social media altogether.The process of going through or considering a divorce can be emotionally draining. Keep yourself mentally strong by practicing self-care and seeking support. It may also be beneficial to get help from a few trusted (and discreet) family members or friends, see a therapist on your own, or join a support group.
  4. Gather Information and Educate Yourself.
    When you don’t want a divorce, you may be tempted to drag your feet, bury your head in the sand, and generally pretend it won’t happen. To be honest, that’s the worst thing you can do. The train will leave the station with or without you, and it’s better to be on it than under it if your spouse is determined.Take advantage of the time you have been given (you asked for it, right?) to gather financial information and educate yourself about the divorce process and your options. It will help you deal better emotionally with your divorce and make the process go more smoothly.
  5. Get Legal Advice From an Experienced Divorce Attorney.
    Having read that last section, you might have wondered what information you should gather or how to learn more about your options. When you don’t want a divorce, meeting with a divorce attorney in Prescott, AZ, may seem like an admission that your marriage has ended. In reality, you are merely taking control of your future.Upon receiving a divorce petition from your spouse, you only have a limited time to respond. If you have time limitations, let your divorce lawyer in Prescott know so they can schedule you accordingly. If your spouse has not yet filed for divorce, you have more time, but you should still speak with a family law attorney in Prescott as soon as possible.Although divorce can be a daunting process, divorce lawyers in Prescott, Arizona, have handled hundreds of them before. The one you hire can answer your questions about the process, explain your rights, and help you explore your options. You can also count on her to reassure you that everything will be okay – and it will.To learn more about what to do when your spouse asks for a divorce, contact Willison Law, PC online, or call (928) 445-3534 to schedule a consultation.

Understanding the Divorce Process in Yavapai County
Arizona divorce timelines vary greatly. Divorce in Arizona differs from legal separation. Although the reasons may be similar, Arizona law distinguishes between them significantly.

Uncontested Divorce in Arizona
In theory, uncontested divorces can be finalized in 70 days or less, but these are very rare situations. An uncontested divorce usually takes 90 to 120 days to complete. Uncontested divorces are exactly what they sound like. There is agreement between the couple on every aspect of the divorce. However, that doesn’t mean your spouse will agree right away. A final term can be agreed upon after resolving issues.

Arizona Contested Divorce
Divorces that are contested are those in which the couple cannot resolve one or more issues. There does not have to be an all-out battle. Even when you disagree, family law in Prescott, AZ, including divorce, can be a civil process. However, contested divorces usually mean the couple does not agree on some major issues. The Arizona divorce process takes longer for contested divorces. Many uncontested divorces can be settled without going through all the steps.


Getting Organized
To position your case for a favorable settlement, you need to gather the following documents:

  • Tax returns
  • Home deeds, vehicle titles, and other ownership documentation
  • Bank and credit card statements
  • Retirement savings statements
  • Documentation related to your children, such as tuition bills and medical records
  • Life insurance policies

In addition to taking these steps, you should also:

  • Get a Private P.O. Box
  • Change passwords on personal devices and social media accounts
  • Consider where you will live once the divorce is initiated


Child Custody and Support
Parents must continue caring for their children when they separate or divorce. The court will decide matters regarding the health and welfare of the children if the parents cannot agree on a parenting plan. As part of this process, decisions are usually made about how much time the child will spend with each parent and who will be the primary caregiver. Courts make decisions based on the child’s best interests.

Final Thoughts
Whether or not your marriage ultimately works out, making positive changes is always a good idea. Some of your behaviors or characteristics may be problematic in most relationships. The more you work through them, the more you can connect with a romantic partner (whether your spouse or someone new).

Stephanie Willison understands that choosing the right family law attorney in Prescott, AZ, takes a lot of consideration. As a result, you will never feel pressured during your consultation. Her goal is to answer your questions, explain your options, assist you in understanding your rights, and, if she represents you in your divorce, guide you through every step with efficiency.




Willison Law, PC

Willison Law, PC

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