If your spouse asked for a divorce, how would you feel? Would you be shocked and surprised? Or would you understand the request because you knew it was coming for a while? 

For many people, it’s the latter. They have seen the red flags. They know the marriage isn’t great. They may not think that it’s bad enough to ask for a divorce themselves, but they understand where their spouse is coming from. In some cases, they’ve even talked about divorce in advance, mulling it over before one spouse finally files.

In rare cases, though, it can be a complete shock. The trouble is that it can leave you feeling stunned and confused, not to mention emotionally distraught. It takes you time just to mentally and emotionally work through the fact that your marriage is ending. 

This can give your spouse an advantage, as they have already come to terms with the divorce and gone through this emotional process. They’re on to the next stage, where they start doing their research, gathering paperwork, outlining a plan for child custody, determining how they would ideally like to divide the marital assets and much more. 

You may feel like you’re getting left behind. You may not be as prepared. You may not feel ready. You may overlook key steps that your spouse took months ago. That’s why it’s important to set your emotions aside during this time — as much as possible. You may feel shocked, angry or sad, but you need to use this time wisely and look into all of your legal options. The more you can learn, the more you can do to make sure that your rights are respected and the process goes smoothly.