Divorces can be complicated and difficult and the idea of discussing divorce with your spouse may seem overwhelming. Having fully thought through the matter beforehand, being confident in the decision, and being prepared for the conversation can help make discussing divorce a little easier. Below are some tips to consider before broaching the subject with your spouse.
1. Be Sure
Divorce is a big decision, especially if children are involved. Before having the conversation with your spouse, you should think things through and be sure of the decision. If the marital issues are something that can be addressed and improved through communication, you may wish to try this first.
2. Plan Ahead
Having an uncomfortable conversation isn’t easy, especially if the other party isn’t taking the news well. It can help to plan out the things you want to say. Thinking about this beforehand can help keep you on track when it’s time to actually have the talk. Once your spouse starts reacting to the things you’re saying, if you’re not prepared you may second guess yourself or the conversation can be derailed. If you’ve thought out possible ways the conversation may go and all the points you want to make, you’re more likely to keep the conversation on track and feel better that you said everything you wanted to.
Try to avoid criticizing your spouse or their behavior and placing blame on anyone in the relationship. You should also try to avoid arguing about the past, since if you’ve already decided on divorce, arguing about what’s happened won’t change anything. Instead, state how you feel honestly and directly and try to use “I” statements.
3. Time and Place
Once you’ve decided you want a divorce and you’ve thought about what to say, it’s better to talk to your spouse sooner rather than later. Don’t delay, as it may get harder to initiate the conversation the longer you wait. The conversation will likely be emotional, so you should try to find a quiet, private place and pick a time when there won’t be any interruptions or distractions. Don’t bring it up or threaten divorce during an argument or when one or both of you are angry. You want to be able to have a serious discussion and should enter into the conversation when you’re both calm.
4. Consider a Safety Plan
If you are worried about your safety when you tell your spouse you want a divorce, consider creating a safety plan. You may wish to have the discussion in front of a neutral third party, such as a therapist, or in a public setting where other people will be around. You should discuss your safety plan with your attorney, as an experienced family law attorney may be able to share other options.
5. Stay Calm
Your spouse may get angry or upset, but it’s important to try to remain calm throughout the discussion. Even if your spouse responds angrily, try to avoid arguing and escalating the situation. Give your spouse time to process what’s happening, listen to what they have to say, and respond calmly. Try to be sympathetic to how your spouse is feeling and take those feelings into account when responding.
6. Maintain Boundaries
After you’ve told your spouse you want a divorce and they seem to understand and accept that fact, it’s important to maintain your boundaries. You may feel guilty if you see that your spouse is upset and might want to comfort them. However, it’s important to maintain some distance to ensure you don’t send mixed signals. Your spouse needs to understand that you’re serious about proceeding with the divorce.
It’s best if you have a plan about how to handle the next few days until you’re able to make more permanent plans. For example, does one spouse have a friend or relative they can stay with until you’re able to make a plan?
After you’ve had the talk with your spouse, it’s best to file for divorce right away, to get the process started. You should consult with an experienced family law attorney who can help you understand what to expect during the process. Family law attorneys at General Counsel, P.C. are experienced in all aspects of divorce and can help you navigate the process. Call us today and see how we can help you.