What to Do if Your Spouse Files for a Divorce in Arizona Without Telling You


A vast majority of couples are aware that they are going to be divorced before ever being served divorce papers. There has likely been a long period of time where the two have simply not gotten along and there may have even been a considerable amount of discussion about the possibility of separating, if not getting divorced out right. While some partners may ask for a divorce peacefully, there are rare occasions where one spouse will file for a divorce without informing the other beforehand.

Husband Filing For Divorce Without Telling His Wife

While divorce in itself is difficult to deal with, when it comes as a surprise, it can become chaotic. There are varying reasons why a husband may serve his wife divorce papers without telling his partner, some of the most common reasons are:

  • he has found another woman that he would prefer to be with
  • he has just become tired of his wife
  • he may have large financial holdings he doesn’t want to share
  • he may be reaching some kind of point in his life where he feels he wants something different

While there are several obvious problems to behaving this way, the most obvious is that it is extremely disrespectful to the person he married to surprise them with divorce papers. It is someone’s legal right to decide that they do not want to be married anymore, but they do not have the right to keep it from their spouse.

A Spouse is Entitled to Knowing They’re Going to Be Divorced

Arizona Revised Statutes, Title 25 holds all the laws that apply to marriage and the dissolution of marriage. This includes protecting the rights of the individuals in the marriage, so that one person cannot take advantage of the other.

In every court in the country, it is the requirement of the court and the petitioning party that the wife be informed that her husband is seeking to get divorced. The reasons for this are obvious. No court wants to grant a divorce to somebody who is completely unaware that a divorce decree is being sought against them. This is a legal action and all courts in the country are bound to protect the legal rights of every individual involved in any court proceeding. The same is true of any kind of civil proceeding.

There is an exception to this rule, however.

If the Wife Cannot Be Found, the Husband Has the Legal Right to Divorce Her Without Her Knowledge

There are many instances where the spouse seeking to get divorced is unable to locate their husband or wife. In this case, the court can deem that it is unfair for that spouse to have to stay married solely because the location of the other spouse is not available. They can grant a divorce in this instance. However, there are some very strict conditions upon how this can be made.

They Are Required to Attempt Every Method of Contact

It must be shown to the court that every attempt has been made to reach the other spouse to serve them with papers in order to inform that the one spouse is seeking to get divorced. This usually requires that a person has demonstrated that they have attempted to serve the court papers at the last known address, whatever the address was prior to that, and even upon relatives or work locations. Every attempt must be exhausted.

A Public Deceleration Must be Made

Afterwards, there is usually some kind of public declaration that has to be displayed to inform the other spouse that a divorce is being sought against them. Most require that this appear in the local newspaper over three or four successive week’s period of time. If the other party does not appear in court to acknowledge that they have read or seen the declaration in the paper and they are seeking to stop the divorce proceeding, then the court can grant the divorce.

Know Your Rights and Get Protected

No matter how this has worked out, you should contact a divorce attorney the moment you have been served or understand that divorce proceedings have begun against you. You need somebody to protect your rights, and you can be sure that if your husband has been sneaking around to get a divorce against you, then he is quite unlikely to be acting in your interests.

You may also find that there is a situation where your husband has been able to get divorced from you by following the procedures mentioned above. He claimed he was unable to reach you, so the court has granted the divorce after the public notification period. If this is the case, an attorney will be extremely beneficial.

Just because the court has granted a divorce doesn’t mean they should have. You have rights and you are entitled to marital property, child support (if applicable) and other assets. An attorney can help you to get whatever you are owed, even if the divorce has already been granted. It’s to your advantage to get legal help.

Call the Family Law Team at (480) 467-4348 to discuss your case today.

Contact Our Family Law Team

Call (480) 467-4348 or fill out the form to schedule your consultation and discuss your best legal options.