Telling your spouse that you want a separation or divorce is one of those real turning points in life. Each situation is different, but whether the news is somewhat expected or seems to be out of the blue, It’s usually a time of mixed emotions and much trepidation. If you are considering divorce but don’t know how to tell your partner, then this BLOG is for you! Depending on the circumstances and what has led you to this point, how you handle this discussion is very important and will set the tone about how to successfully move the divorce process ahead to a conclusion.

Some couples agree to a separation in order to find ways for reconciliation. Others use a trial separation as a way to buy time because it’s too hard either emotionally or financially to begin the divorce process immediately. Usually, it turns out to be the first step towards dissolution. Be honest with yourself. Don’t make the mistake of threatening divorce just because you are angry. Do you want a separation in order to eventually reconcile, or is the separation really a stepping stone to divorce? You may still be uncertain as to the answer at this point. After much soul searching, only you can determine the best path forward for your goals.

Prepare for a Difficult Conversation

How the conversation begins will depend on the past and present issues in your relationship, if there have been questions of infidelity, if there are addiction issues, or if it is because there is a general discontent with the relationship. The outcome of the conversation depends on how well both parties are able to have an open and agreeable dialogue. Only you can evaluate this, but it is a good idea to do comprehensive planning and talk with a professional divorce lawyer to get some input before approaching your partner. While there is never an ideal time or place, those details should also be given careful consideration, too. If you have already made the decision to divorce, your choice of words will dictate the degree of finality to your spouse.

It is important to be honest, as long as it is safe to do so. You should already have a pretty good idea of how your spouse may react, and if you have concerns, do not put yourself in a situation of volatility. If you are fearful for your safety, please consult with a professional about your circumstances. While it is a good idea to be non-threatening and less hurtful, trying to sound less final and giving a false sense of hope isn’t always the best approach, especially if you know the outcome you want is a final dissolution of the marriage. If you are certain divorce is what you need to do, you don’t have to agree to explore all options and leave the door “cracked open a bit” to try to soften things with your spouse. Although painful, directness and clarity are always best.

Plan What You Will Say

Once you decide you want to divorce or separate from your partner, develop a plan for how to break the news to him or her. The discussion will be hard, there is really no way around that. Think about what you want to say and how to deliver the message gently, but firmly, and with conviction. Now is not the time to be vague, hesitant, or wishy-washy.

Be clear about your message. You can begin with a short summary of your unhappiness, make certain he or she understands the seriousness of the situation, and then clearly state that you don’t want to be married anymore. Give your spouse a chance to respond and be a respectful listener, but do not give false hope.

Here are a few ideas of how you might start the conversation for discussing divorce:
“We’ve been working hard on our relationship, but I don’t see any improvement in our marriage.”
“I’ve been thinking a great deal about our relationship and I don’t think either of us is very happy. I know I am not. I think it is time for us to talk seriously about divorce.”
“I don’t feel good about our relationship and marriage. I think the best thing is to separate and start to prepare for divorce. “
“Our marriage is just not working. It has been a difficult decision for me and difficult to admit, but I believe our marriage is finished and I would like to start the process of divorce.”

While this announcement is going to start off the discussion, remember to stick to your goal and not be led off track. You don’t want to be abrupt and cold, but a prolonged conversation that goes nowhere accomplishes nothing. Know when it is time to conclude your talk and when enough has been said.

Don’t Ambush Your Partner

Let your spouse know that you would like to set a time to talk with them about something important. Even if you have already broached the subject, or have let your partner know you are not happy, that doesn’t mean that he or she won’t be caught off guard. If your spouse has no idea at all, it will probably come as a complete shock to them. Keep in mind, once you propose a conversation, you should already have a plan as to what you want to say, as he or she may insist that you reveal what you want to discuss right then and there.

Pick the Right Place and Time

Choose a place and a time free of distractions. It is a good idea not to have the conversation right before an important family event or a holiday, but it is understandable that sometimes can’t be avoided. A private place is usually best, unless you have any concerns about your safety. If you need support, bring in a counselor, a good friend, or talk in a public place.

Be Prepared for the Reaction

This will be a stressful discussion, no matter what. Expect there will be strong emotions and arguments. Be prepared for crying, antagonism, denial, blame, harsh words, and arguments. He or she may become angry, or may even threaten you. Don’t let yourself get angry and don’t argue. Stay calm and be reasonable. Always stick with the script you prepared. Don’t get pulled off topic and be put in a situation where you revisit either your or your spouse’s transgressions. Try to limit the amount of explaining or convincing that may occur and don’t be drawn into a long accusatory discussion. Many times, the less you say the better.

Avoid the Blame Game

Don’t criticize your spouse or argue about the past, because that will accomplish nothing. Focus on neutral, non-accusatory language. You can be sympathetic about your partner’s feelings, but be firm. You should be a good listener to them, but let them know how you feel and that you don’t believe there is any way to change the current situation or make the marriage work.

Maintain Boundaries

Once you have had the discussion about divorce you may have some guilt and feel you have to comfort your spouse by being affectionate. That will only turn out to be a big mistake. Without being completely cold, maintain your personal boundaries and keep your distance. You don’t want to send mixed signals. Make certain he or she knows you are serious.

Meet with a Top-Notch Divorce Attorney

Yes, preparing for a divorce is a very difficult time. Whether you have already had the conversation with your spouse, or are preparing to have that discussion, it’s time to retain a divorce attorney who makes you feel comfortable and gives you confidence to face the process ahead. Contact the attorneys of Staack, Simms & Reighard, PLLC. We are the Tampa, FL lawyers with the experience and compassion to guide you through a successful divorce. We know it is not an easy time, but we also know how important it is to safeguard your future and that is what we will focus on for you.

Get experienced divorce representation. Reach out today.
Staack, Simms & Reighard, PLLC