Ending Things: How to Ask Your Spouse for a Divorce

You gave it your best shot, but you’ve come to realize that it’s not working anymore. You want a divorce from your spouse and you want it soon.

The problem is: you’re not sure how to ask for a divorce. After all, you don’t do this sort of thing every day.

Fortunately, however, we can help you. Without further ado, here’s how to ask your spouse for a divorce.

Consult a Lawyer

First and foremost, if you’re serious about this, you need to ask a divorce lawyer about his or her opinion on the matter. There’s a lot that goes into a divorce and you want to be sure that you’re making the right decision.

A lawyer can help you determine the specifics of the divorce (ie. what the financial situation will be, what will happen to your kids, what will happen to your house, etc.) and also give you advice on what is and isn’t wise at this point in time.

Even if you consider your spouse to be a level-minded and reasonable person, seeing a lawyer is a necessity. Divorce can change a person and it’s often for the worse. You never know how your spouse might react.

Note, when consulting a lawyer, be sure to consult one who specializes in divorces. General lawyers might be able to help you to an extent but will lack the in-depth knowledge that divorce lawyers possess.

Pick the Right Time

Next, you’re going to want to choose an appropriate time. Some times are much more appropriate than are others.

For instance, in an extreme example, if your spouse’s mother just died, you probably don’t want to immediately drop the bomb of divorce. The same goes for if your spouse just lost his or her job. These situations could put your spouse in a bad place mentally, one which could be exacerbated by a divorce.

The key here is to keep emotional pain to a minimum. Yes, it’s probably going to hurt regardless. But it would hurt much less if it was presented to your spouse during a good time in his or her life.

Choose the Right Place

In addition to picking the right time, you also want to choose the right place. This is dependent on a variety of factors.

If your marriage is amicable and you know your spouse to be a reasonably level-headed individual, you could probably just strike up the conversation at home.

However, if your spouse is hot-headed or irrational, you might want to keep the conversation semi-public. It’s not likely to happen, but there is a chance that such a partner could cause you harm, particularly if he or she has abusive tendencies. In a situation such as this, a park might be the better place to have a conversation.

Prepare Yourself

Asking someone for a divorce is like dropping a huge bomb on their life. Your spouse could be shocked and might feel hurt. As such, you need to be delicate in your delivery; preparation is key.

Sit down and prepare a few key lines, make sure your lead-in isn’t too harsh, and try to establish a concrete reason for why you no longer want to be in the marriage. Your spouse will likely be expecting answers and you should try your best to provide them.

It wouldn’t be a bad idea to practice this situation on your own. You might even consult a counselor to help you.

Just remember: this isn’t a flippant situation. This is the person you’ve spent years of your life with and — short of an abusive situation — he or she deserves your full attention and respect.

Be Resolute

If you want this to happen, you want this to happen. You’ve made up your mind and there’s no reason to let it drag on any longer than what it has to. So, when having the conversation, be as resolute as possible.

Your spouse might try to convince you that it’s a mistake, especially if it comes as a shock. But if it was a mistake, you wouldn’t have made it this far. You’ve put the time in and have decided that this is the right decision.

Now, this doesn’t mean that you should be rude in any way; quite the contrary, in fact. But you can’t change your mind. Keep a neutral tone and maintain your desire for the fate of the marriage; eventually, your spouse will understand that you’re serious.

Save the Technical Stuff for a Different Time

If you’ve been reading about divorce, or if you’ve consulted a lawyer, you know that there are a number of legal consequences to ending a marriage. It’s great to be informed, but you don’t want to bring any of this up during the initial conversation with your spouse. You need to save the technical stuff for a different time.

This includes everything from how you’ll handle the house to what will happen to the kids to finances and otherwise. You’re already throwing a lot in your spouse’s face by asking for a divorce. You don’t want to add insult to injury by pressuring him or her about logistics.

In fact, you’re advised to let a little time pass after the initial conversation is had. Your spouse will need to process what has just been discussed before he or she can discuss the situation with a clear mind. In the meantime, leave the lines of communication open and be ready to move on.

Now That You Know How to Ask for a Divorce . . .

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