Gary E. Robbins, P.C. 
Sunwest Bank Building, Suite 405
121 East Birch Avenue
Flagstaff, Arizona 86001-4610
& Discovery
Custody, divorce and family law cases are extremely stressful.  Numerous studies have shown that the two most stressful events in a person’s life are divorce and the death of a spouse, far outweighing events such as the birth of a child, being fired, moving out of state, and getting married.  (Separation after a long term relationship where you have had children also raises many of these issues.)  

During the divorce process, you need to focus on being good to yourself and taking care of yourself.  Following is advice that often helps people who are going through a divorce, or the end of a relationship with children..  

The Basics

Your first order of business is to take care of yourself.  Eat.  Sleep.  Spend time with other people.  During this process, you need to take care of your emotional needs.  You would be there for a friend who is going through a divorce.  You need to allow your friends to be there for you.  
However, I suggest that you avoid dating.  You need to know for yourself, in your gut, that you can make it without someone of the opposite sex.  There will be a time to date again.  This is not that time.  This is the time for you to discover that you can take care of yourself without a member of the opposite sex.
An excellent book that I found to be very helpful is called "How to Survive the Loss of a Love."  You can buy this book at Barnes & Noble or any other larger bookstore.  I order up twenty copies of this book at a time from, and I have given out hundreds of copies of it to any one in my office who is experiencing sadness or stress, regardless of if they are clients.  (I have even given copies of this book to the spouse of my clients if they appear sad or upset.)  You can read this book from cover to cover in one night.  I recommend that you read it once a week for the first few weeks and again monthly as you grow through this experience.  I found that I took away something different every time that I read it, especially at the beginning.    
The good news is that the stress of going through a divorce will lessen over time.  Your job is to take care of yourself during this process.

See a Doctor and maybe a Counselor
I suggest that you see a doctor for a full, physical exam.  If you have a medical problem, you need to know it now, so you can make the best plans for your future.  Also, if you discover a medical problem now, you may be able to ask for spousal maintenance.  Your doctor may recommend that you take vitamins, eat more wholesome food, get more sleep, or even take prescribed medication.  I strongly recommend that you follow your doctor’s recommendations.  
This is also an excellent time for you to consider going to a counselor.  You are going through a tough time.  You can use all of the support that you can get.  Some clients are afraid that going to a counselor will be used against them.  Actually, I have found the opposite to be true.  Going to counseling is usually seen as a sign of strength by the Court.  Indeed, I have seen many cases where a counselor has testified as to how a parent has embraced counseling to address issues in their lives, and this testimony is taken very, very seriously by the Court.  

This could also be a good time to join a church.  Seeking to connect with a power greater than yourself can make a world of difference right now.  If you are already active in a church, consider asking for pastoral counseling with your minister, priest, or rabbi.
Perhaps you are considering suicide.  Suicide is a permanent solution for a temporary problem.  If you are even thinking of suicide, you need to get help from a doctor or counselor as soon as possible.  I have had clients who were on the brink, but then were able to get through the process when they asked for help.  If you are thinking of harming yourself, call 911 immediately.  Trained people can help you get through this difficult time.  

Drugs and Alcohol

Divorce can be incredibly painful.  It may be very tempting to cover your pain with drugs or alcohol.  However, that pain will still be there once you stop self-medicating, and often life becomes more complicated when recreational drugs or alcohol are involved.  Other than medication prescribed by a physician, I recommend that you not use other substances to alter your consciousness or soothe your emotions.  Instead, seek support from family, friends, a counselor, a physician (for medication) and a minister or other spiritual resource.  If you have children, this recommendation is even more important.  See Paragraph 16 under Strategy Tips.  Journaling, meditation, prayer and physical exercise are much more effective alternatives to deal with the emotional pain. 

Get Tested

I also suggest that you consider getting tested for sexually transmitted diseases or STD’s.  This is important information that you need to know.  Usually, my clients test negative for any STD.  However, if you test positive for an STD, you need to know this information as soon as possible so you can obtain treatment.  Also, if you test positive for an STD and were infected by your spouse, you can ask that your spouse reimburse you for this damage.
There is a way for you to be tested for an STD without your health insurance knowing that you have been tested, or it showing up in your medical records.  Go to the Coconino County Health Department at 2625 North King Street.  (That is a two-story building located one block east of Fourth Street, and two blocks north of Seventh Avenue.)  You can walk in without an appointment.  Their service is extremely confidential.  There is only a nominal cost for their services.  
The majority of people will test negative for any STD’s.  However, this can be life-saving information for you to know.

Children & Friends
If you have any children, including children who are already adults, it is essential that you keep them out of your divorce. 

While you have been hurt by your spouse's words and actions, your children usually still love your spouse.  When you say negative things about your spouse, this usually causes children great conflict and often leads them to blaming themselves.  You are the adult; let your children be children.  A good book to read to younger children is “It’s Not Your Fault, Koko Bear” which Mr. Robbins keeps stocked in his office. 
You might find that couples who know both you and your spouse are reluctant to be as supportive as they would otherwise be, such as if you or your spouse were facing a health crisis.  This is true for a variety of reasons.  (1)  You going through a divorce might be upsetting to them, leading them to question the strength of their own marriages.  (2)  They might want to avoid taking sides.  (3)  They might feel unable to be of any help.  

If you find that a couple you know is pulling back, I recommend that you look to other people for emotional support.  Just because a particular couple is reluctant to support you does not mean that everyone is reluctant to support you.  

Many people have lots of advice for friends who are going through a divorce.  I have found that often their advice is more about them than it is about you.  So I recommend that you take their advice with a big grain of salt, while accepting and appreciating their concern for you.

Your Spouse
Both you and your spouse thought that your marriage would last; otherwise you wouldn’t have gotten married.  For now, I encourage you to not focus on your spouse; instead focus on yourself and what you can do for yourself, with the support of friends.  


Again, I cannot emphasize enough that this is a time for you to take care of yourself and to get support for yourself.  Researchers suggest that people dealing with such a life-changing loss such as divorces will go through a range of reactions, from shock to bargaining to depression to anger to acceptance, in no particular order, and will many times cycle through these emotions rapidly, sometimes skipping or another emotion.  Your job is to go from surviving, to healing, to growing.  You need to take one day at a time and maybe even one breath at a time.  Take one step at a time, and be good to yourself.  This passage will end.  You will survive.  You will heal.  You will love again.