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The Smart Way to Tell Your Spouse You Want a Divorce

Posted By Attorney Jim Cairns || 6-Jul-2012

You have made the decision to get a divorce, now you are wondering how to break the news to your spouse. Your initial conversation will be critical and will impact the rest of your divorce. If you start by being aggressive, attacking or blaming your spouse, expect to be in an uphill battle.

In order to get an uncontested divorce you will need your spouse's cooperation, start by focusing on the failure of the marriage. Do not blame your spouse; keep the focus off of him/her. When talking with your spouse make sure you use the word "I" and not "you", for example "I feel…".

One of the hardest parts of this conversation is listening to your spouse. Your empathy through listening will demonstrate that you are not looking for war, but that it is in both of your best interests to move on. Minimize the backlash by treating your spouse with respect. Don't go for the jugular – this will only invite the same reaction back at you. Be smart and treat this like a peace treaty.

One to the top considerations you will want to make is how surprised he or she will be. Have either of you previously mentioned divorce? Figure out how prepared s/he will be for this conversation. The more of a shock it is the harder s/he will find it to accept. Be prepared for promises, promises that were more than likely made before but never fulfilled.

Your spouse may become angry and start accusing you of all sorts of things. Stay in control of the conversation and your emotions, this is the critical moment that may dictate if you have an uncontested divorce or if you will need to battle it out in court. Don't start defending yourself. First hear him or her out. Let him/her talk and get it all out, even encourage them to continue talking and show that you are fully listening. When s/he is done summarize what they have said, for example "I hear you are upset because…".

After you have listened to your spouse reinforce why you want a divorce. Tell your spouse that both of you have been part of the erosion of the marriage and no single person is to blame... even though you may think it's not true, it probably is (and remember, these are now "peace treaty negotiations"). Don't let him or her derail you, emphasize that you want to have a respectful divorce. Emphasize that you have made a decision to get a divorce, yet you want both of your needs to address during the divorce.

Emphasize that the divorce will be a series of negotiations and that you believe that the two of you can work out a fair and reasonable divorce. To end this discussion, reassure your spouse that you have heard him/her and that you are willing to work with him/her.

Don't get angry, and especially don't let your spouse push your buttons – because s/he knows them well. Morning is the best time to break the news, before the stresses of a long day cause more emotional responses. Lastly, be confident and take long deep breaths to help you relax. Remember the big picture. This too shall pass, and you will begin your new life relatively soon.

When you and your spouse agree to have an uncontested divorce, contact Attorney James Cairns. He will be happy to answer your questions in a free initial conversation, 888.863.9115, or visit our virtual office for a free consultation by visiting The Divorce Wizard. The Divorce Wizard immediately analyzes and qualifiies your case, calculates your legal fees, and lets you start your divorce online now.