What to do if your spouse asks for a divorce

Maybe you see it coming or maybe you don't. Either way, if your spouse asks for a divorce, it's critical to understand what you should and shouldn't do.

When you take the right steps at the right time, you're in better position to avoid mistakes that can complicate matters during the divorce process. Here are five steps you should take:

  • Take a deep breath and remind yourself that you can get your life together: It's never easy to go through divorce, especially if you didn't see it coming, but it doesn't signify the end of your life. It may take time, but you'll soon realize that you're inching toward a better life in the future.
  • Talk to loved ones: Don't keep your feelings bottled up inside. Talk to your friends and family about your feelings, concerns and plans for the future. And if necessary, it may make sense to consult with a therapist.
  • Don't fight it: It's a bad ending to your marriage, but begging your spouse to reconsider isn't worth it. It's okay to do your part in working things out, if possible, but begging and pleading won't get you anywhere.
  • Don't obsess over their every move: For example, it's tempting to stalk your spouse on social media, habitually check your joint email account and drive by their place of employment every now and again. But doing this will only make matters worse, especially if you find something you don't want to see.
  • Get your finances in order: Your personal life will change in many ways now that divorce is on the table. The same holds true with your finances, so get organized as soon as possible. Open individual bank accounts, create a budget and make general financial decisions that will improve your situation.

If your spouse asks for a divorce, take a step back to assess your situation and decide what to do next. Making rash decisions can complicate matters, both on a personal and financial level.

Once you understand what's happening and have a plan to proceed, it's easier to turn your full attention to the divorce process, protecting your legal rights in Washington and setting up a better life for yourself in the future.

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