Struggling with how to ask for a divorce? If you have tried everything in your power to make your marriage work, a divorce could be the best option for you and your spouse. Taking the steps towards a divorce is not easy, but knowing how to approach the conversation can help make your divorce as smooth as possible.
At least as smooth as it can be.
How to Ask for a Divorce the Right Way
Below are seven tips to help you approach your spouse about divorce. We don’t promise that these next steps will be easy, but a solid Atlanta divorce attorney can make the process and smooth as possible. If you have made up your mind and believe divorce is the only solution, here’s how you should go about it.
Step One: Time your conversation wisely
Timing plays a critical role in how your spouse will respond to your request. While it may seem as if there is never a “good” time to talk about divorce, the reality is that there are some times that are much better than others. Here are some tips to follow to help you time your conversation:
- Eliminate distractions: Choose a time and location with minimal distractions. Turn off your cell phone and ask your spouse to do the same.
- Avoid alcohol and drugs: Do not start a discussion about divorce if you or your spouse are under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Seek care for your children: If you have children, secure child care or choose a time when they are not present.
- Be considerate: If you know your spouse has a major work or school project approaching, try to wait until after the project is complete.
Step Two: Seek guidance from an experienced divorce attorney
This step is so important that many people seek the guidance of a divorce lawyer before they speak with their spouse. This is because an experienced divorce attorney can provide valuable advice and guidance from the moment you first think about divorce until the day the court clerk enters the official judgment into the court record.
Step Three: Consider having the discussion in your counselor’s office
Approximately 44 percent of married couples seek counseling at least once during their engagement or marriage. If you and your spouse are currently in counseling, consider asking for a divorce during one of your sessions. Here are a few reasons why your counselor’s office is a good spot for your discussion:
- Your counselor’s office is a safe, neutral location
- If problems or tension arise, your counselor can help prevent the situation from escalating
- Your counselor can help establish boundaries moving forward
Step Four: Speak calmly and avoid accusations
Discussing the prospect of divorce is not easy. Conversations can quickly become heated, especially if either of you speaks loudly and makes accusatory statements. Do your very best to keep your voice down and your tone even.
Doing your best to avoid accusations is also important. A simple way to achieve this goal is to own your feelings by using statements that begin with “I” instead of “You”. By changing your words ever so slightly, you can speak your mind without putting your spouse on the defensive. Here is an example:
- A “You” Statement: “You never make me happy anymore and you never contribute to our marriage.”
- An “I” Statement: “I just don’t feel happy in our marriage anymore, and I am starting to feel like I am the only one invested in it.”
Step Five: Highlight your efforts to improve your marriage
Many couples try a variety of measures to try to repair their relationships. For instance, they may try seeing a therapist, seeking guidance from a church pastor, or spending more time together. Remind your spouse of any and all efforts undertaken to try to salvage your marriage. You may also wish to reference how long the two of you have been trying to make your marriage better.
Step Six: Remind your spouse that these efforts failed
If your spouse shows any resistance to the idea, gently remind them that all efforts to save your marriage have failed. At this point, it is okay to let your spouse know that you have hit the point when you are convinced that your marriage cannot be saved. If you clearly spell out all of the failed measures you took to save your marriage, then your spouse should be more understanding of your request.
Step Seven: Note that your divorce does not have to be stressful
A divorce does not have to be messy or stressful. And neither does life after a divorce. In fact, experts note that divorce is actually the best option in some situations. And with studies showing that couples who are separated (but not yet divorced) report greater levels of stress than divorced people, the grass may actually be greener on the other side.
Want to Know How to Ask for a Divorce? Ask A Lawyer
Telling your husband or wife you would like a divorce will not be easy – especially if they are caught off guard by your request. But by following the steps above, you can help ensure that your conversation remains civil and your spouse understands your feelings.
The single biggest key to a smooth divorce is a great divorce attorney. An experienced lawyer can guide you and help you navigate through any challenges that may arise during the divorce process. Most importantly, contacting a great divorce attorney will help make sure you achieve a fair, positive outcome in your case.