No one wants to be involved in the “I want a divorce” conversation; however, in the event you must have this talk, you will want to prepare for it beforehand. There are ways to minimize the impact of this conversation if you do so carefully – and if your spouse does not end up taking the news too harshly. Today, we have created a list that provides you with tips on how to tell your spouse you want to get divorced.
Ask at the right time
Avoid asking your spouse for a divorce if he/she is stressed out, having a tough day, found out some bad news, or is not feeling too well. The best way to bring up this subject is to first connect to see if your spouse has the time, energy, and emotional capacity to connect and have a discussion. This does not mean avoiding this conversation for an extended period of time. Rather, find a time that is ideal, or as ideal as possible, to tell your spouse why you want to file for a divorce.
Do it in person
Breaking this type of news to your spouse over the phone or over any form of social media is not the way to go. Respect the relationship and have this talk in person. If it is unsafe to do so, consult with your attorney to determine the next best option.
Be honest but not critical
It is important to share your feelings and be honest about why you are asking for a divorce. This may not be the case if your spouse is abusive or mentally unstable though. You will want additional support if so and should speak to law enforcement, a lawyer, or a mental health professional – depending on the circumstances of your situation. Otherwise, being honest is a good and fair move. This is not the time to bring up your list of everything your spouse has ever done wrong though. Share why you would like a divorce in a calm tone to, hopefully, ease into the topic.
Practice compassion and kindness
Think about how you would want this news delivered to you. Practice being kind and compassionate and try to bring that side of you to this conversation. This also means allowing your spouse to express his/her thoughts, feelings, and concerns. You both entered this marriage together, so it would be fair to exit it in a manner that allows both sides to express themselves.
Be prepared for a reaction
You might catch your spouse off guard. He/she may act in a way that you have not seen before or might not react at all. Although you cannot control your spouse’s reaction, you can prepare yourself in advance to know what to do if your spouse behaves in a certain way. Understand that your spouse will need time to process this information and that might include providing him/her with adequate space to do so.
Avoid involving the kids
Ensure that your children are not around when you and your spouse are discussing your divorce. You can tell them about this news later, but for the first conversation, you should focus solely on your spouse. Also, avoid bringing up contentious issues such as child custody during this conversation. You will eventually discuss all of that with an attorney, so take it one step at a time.
If you would like to, you could practice what you are going to say beforehand. You do not have to do this with another person, you could write out your divorce speech or practice what you would like to say to your spouse in the car as you drive to work. If you feel comfortable confiding in a loved one, such as a family member, perhaps you could practice this conversation with him/her. Just make sure it stays between the two of you.
If you require experienced legal counsel as you navigate your divorce, contact our office online or via (405) 294-1511.