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A Definitive Guide to Dealing With a Surprise Divorce

Tue 7th Apr, 2020 Arizona Divorce Laws

Surprise divorces are devastating. It’s easy to bury the hatchet when it comes to petty marriage squabbles, but being handed an absolute decision without having the chance to prove yourself can, understandably, be sheer torture.

To add to that, it’s more painful when you realize that your spouse has had the time to prepare for this moment ⁠— and you’re only beginning to process the upsetting news. Oftentimes, it’s hard to know where to start when you’re in a state of shock. Here, we give you three things to keep in mind if you ever find yourself caught off guard by a surprise divorce.

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Act swiftly as soon as the divorce papers are handed to you. The first thing you need to do is hire a good attorney, making sure that they’ve got the best chance of winning your case. According to, Arizona state laws grant you 20 days to respond before your soon-to-be ex-spouse requests for a default result partial to them — so make sure that you spend your time well by looking for the best legal solutions you can find.

You will also have to keep a close eye on your finances during the divorce process — giving in to retail therapy can make a huge dent on your bank account. Our post on the ‘Eight Financial Mistakes to Avoid When Going Through a Divorce in AZ’ details what you can do to safeguard your finances in trying times like these. A few of these are: considering divorce mediation, knowing where your money goes, and learning how to properly utilize your time with your attorney. This ensures that you’re not broke by the time a court announces a ruling.

Give Yourself a Break

It’s normal to feel puzzled and angry when unexpectedly slapped with divorce papers ⁠— after all, no amount of preparation can help you get ready for this. So in lieu of blaming yourself and looking back at what you could have changed, try to be kinder to yourself and jumpstart the healing process.

Even among those who were not surprised by their divorce, feelings of isolation, deep insecurity, and helplessness are all too common, making it very easy to fall into self-despair. What’s more, you might even have difficulties going about your daily life. Indeed, psychologists at Maryville University point to complex connections between mental health and the ability to continue with day-to-day tasks like work. This can help explain things if you’re experiencing brain fog and a difficulty in processing information you normally would have no problem with. You can help manage your feelings of being overwhelmed with breathing exercises, but your true healing only starts once you let go of your apprehensions and give yourself a break.

Self-Care is Key

Remember that you are dealing with a loss, so it’s important to prioritize and practice self-care. Studies have found that the risk of developing mental health issues rises after a divorce, so make sure that your psychological needs are attended to. Clinical social worker specialist, Karen Tucker, advises that fresh divorcees should consult with a therapist in order to gain intrapersonal insight, as well as guidance with how to function without compromising your own emotional health.

But, you should remember that self-care isn’t limited to mental health. It could be as simple as taking a shower or eating healthy meals ⁠— any attempt to take care of your body can uplift your overall wellbeing. To maintain your path to healing, it could help to make a schedule and follow it as best as you can. This will give you a sense of accomplishment — something that you’re in need of in grim times like these.

All of this is crucial in helping you find the proper footing when served with divorce papers out of the blue. While succumbing to hopelessness seems like an easier option, you have to keep in mind that neglecting to care for yourself financially, physically, and emotionally has long-term effects that are significantly harder to address.

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Written By Jen Beats

Hildebrand Law, PC Voted Best Divorce Law Firm in Arizona by Arizona Foothills Magazine