How Should I Talk To My Spouse About Divorce?

tough conversation between spouses about divorce

One of the most difficult realizations you may come to in a marriage is that your relationship is no longer working. During this time, you may be experiencing a range of emotions. That can make having a conversation with your spouse about divorce challenging. How do you bring the topic up? Does your partner feel the same? What is the most constructive way to ask for a divorce?

Broaching the subject of divorce can be difficult. However, there are ways to make the situation less stressful for you and your family.  A compassionate family law attorney can help you prepare for this difficult conversation and provide guidance about how to keep the conversation constructive.

Things to Do Before Asking Your Spouse for a Divorce

Before you have a conversation with your partner, have a conversation with yourself. Think about your needs and priorities. You will want to:

  1. Get legal advice
  2. Gather and organize important documents and financial statements
  3. Set aside funds to cover expenses for at least three months
  4. Surround yourself with a support network
  5. Consider options for reducing the impact of the divorce on your children

Five Tips When Asking for a Divorce

Consider these points when you’re ready to ask your spouse for a divorce:

Timing Matters

Often, there is no quick and easy way to bring up the topic of divorce. You may want to share your thoughts on why the marriage is not working. When you are ready to bring up the topic, make sure that you are doing it when you both have the time to sit down and focus on the conversation. Do not bring it up as you are running out the door to work, getting the kids ready for school, or when one of you is preoccupied.

Both of you should turn off your cell phones and turn off the television. Have a conversation when your children are not present. Do not risk your children barging in on you when you are in the middle of this conversation.

Don’t Assign Blame

It takes two to make a marriage, and often it takes two to dissolve one. While your partner may have their faults, this is not the time to bring them to the forefront in a negative or accusatory manner. Try to contain your negative feelings. Blaming, yelling, and aggression will only make the conversation more difficult.

Be calm while explaining your thought process and how divorce seems like it may be the best option for both of you.

Use Reminders

Sometimes a spouse knows that the inevitable is coming. Other times he or she may be blindsided by the news that their partner wants a divorce. There may have been previous efforts made by one or both partners to salvage the relationship. Talk about the things you have done to correct issues or problems in the marriage. It may be the spark your partner needs to realize, at the end of the day, that ending the marriage is the right solution.

Treat Your Spouse with Respect

Divorce can be a challenging process. Show respect to your partner. Do not lash out in anger or aggression during your conversation. After you have brought up the topic of divorce, avoid sending negative emails or text messages to your partner. These can harm your case when it comes time to go to court or engage in mediation.

If You Are Fearful, Ask for a Divorce in Front of a Third-Party

If you are afraid of your spouse’s reaction to the news that you would like a divorce, consider bringing up the topic in front of a neutral third party. Advise this person ahead of time and give them a rundown of your concerns. You may want to seek the help of an experienced therapist or counselor. They may be able to offer a safe setting for the conversation to take place.

You will understandably go through some emotional ups and downs before you sit down and have the talk. That is normal. Give yourself time to process what you are going through and visualize how you want the conversation to go. With some time and preparation, you can have an effective conversation with your partner about divorce.

Should I Talk to My Lawyer Before Talking to My Spouse?

It is never a bad idea to consult with an attorney before talking to your spouse about wanting a divorce. Divorce can be a difficult and draining process. An experienced attorney can give you some guidance about how to approach this difficult conversation.

If you are concerned about the custody of your children or there are numerous assets at stake, you should talk to an attorney first. Talking to an attorney first will help you understand your rights and the steps you will need to take. 

Have confidence that you are making the right decision for yourself and your family.