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If you’re not the one wanting the divorce, why would you file?

You’ve been dumped, cheated on, been told it’s over. You’re hurt and angry, but want to work things out. But unfortunately your spouse doesn’t. What do you do? It would seem filing for a divorce would be the last thing. But it may be the best. First, from a legal standpoint, it may be the best way to protect yourself. And, if you have children, your kids. As a divorce in Arizona can go through without the other person’s consent. Basically one person files, the papers are then given to the other person, and then as long as that person doesn’t fight the divorce, it can go through. We are a no-fault state, meaning there needn’t necessarily be a reason, other than the marriage is irretrievably broken. So if one person thinks its over, the court will agree that it is over. So you can’t really fight the divorce itself. As far as the terms, there’s also not much to fight about, as so much now is set by law, particularly as to community property, parenting time and child support. (Not to mention most of us today have little to fight over in the first place.) And even if there were things to fight about, rarely are they worth the time, money and effort. So often what happens is when one person files, the other person may not agree with or like all of the terms proposed. But its just not worth it to fight it. On the other hand, if the person filing puts in the papers things that aren’t fair, the court will likely still order the terms unless the other person fights it. And fighting a divorce can be easier said than done. So you don’t want to be the one being given papers that aren’t fair. As then you may have no choice but to fight it. If you have the time and money to do so. Rather, even if you don’t want the divorce, YOU want to be the one to file. To be able to ask for what you think is fair.

Also, even though you might not want the divorce, if the truth is the other person does and has even left, than you also need to protect yourself by not only asking for what is fair, but getting it sooner versus later. As the longer you wait, the longer until you receive child support, have court ordered parenting time or a division of property and debts. Also know that until there is a divorce, you are likely legally responsible for any trouble, legal or financial, your spouse may get into. This would include credit card or other debt they may incur – even if it’s in their name only and you have nothing to do with it. And even once the divorce goes through, these debts incurred during the marriage, even if living apart, even if IN THE DIVORCE PAPERS can come back to haunt you. So filing sooner versus later, even if you’re not the one who wants the divorce, may be in your best interest.

And this is all from a legal standpoint. From a personal view, you may also want to consider filing. No, you might not want the divorce. But this way you will be in charge of if and when it goes through. As just because you file for the divorce, doesn’t mean you have to go through with it. And we often see that when one person files and the other person sees things in black and white, it hits them. That this is real. And that perhaps things need to change. And of course if they don’t, then the divorce can go through. (You can actually sit on a divorce for almost a year.)

I’m certainly not advocating divorce. As, believe it or not, it’s not something I necessarily believe in. As I do think many people give up too easily. But the truth is a divorce is simply the legal aspect of a split. And the legal part is something that generally comes months, if not years, after the actual split. Whether that split be physical or just emotional.

So by the time one person says it’s over, sadly but generally by that point there’s not much the other person can do about it. Other than protect themselves. Which often means filing for the divorce. Even if its not what you really want.

But know I’ve been in that position. And often what you think is the end of the world, isn’t. Rather is just the beginning of something new. And different. And, yes, sad. And definitely scary. But, in the long run, maybe for the best.