How & When To Tell Your Spouse You Want A Divorce
From Tim’s Book “Why You Don’t Need A Divorce Attorney”
This is going to be different for everyone of course, but I could probably provide you a little help here seeing as I deal with so many people going through divorce. I think the “How” and “When” you tell your spouse can really make a difference on how well your divorce case ultimately plays out.
How are you going to tell your spouse you want a divorce? Remember here that we are talking about folks trying to go through an amicable divorce and we are trying to set up a situation where the environment is best suited for having the conversation.
I would suggest that you plan this out so that you are not placed in a situation where you get upset at your spouse and just blurt it out, “I want a divorce!” We want to do this amicably, so even if there is a lot of upset and emotion you can handle this as a business decision so both of you can deal with what’s about to happen.
Remember, as I stated previously, (and I am talking to you women right now) that your husband may have absolutely no idea you are about to drop this on him, so the how and the when are going to really matter. Give it some thought and think about how your week normally happens.
Think about your schedule, when the kids are home or at practice, etc. Make sure to be in a place that is quiet and that you have ample time to discuss as much as possible and that you don’t have to run out for some errand in 10 minutes, interrupting the conversation. You are going to want to get this out in a single conversation.
Not everything will be discussed here of course, but you want to make sure your spouse fully understands that you are not bringing this up as casual conversation, but that this is really happening.
Now for the when. I think I will answer this in two ways. “When” as in when you should tell them after you have made the decision that you want to get a divorce and, “When” as in what part of the hour, day or week do you tell them.
When clients call us for our divorce service, many have already discussed getting a divorce with their spouse, but many others have not and they will ask me what I think is the best time to tell their spouse. I tell them that it is better to talk to their spouse about wanting a divorce before any actual court documents start flying around. I think the conversation should come first and the actual filing of divorce papers should come after.
So what I am recommending is that when you talk to your spouse that you are not there to hand them any type of divorce papers. It will be overwhelming enough to have the conversation and you are going to want to focus on just the conversation and not be distracted by court documents.
I recommend telling your spouse soon after you have made the decision that you absolutely want to get divorced. When you know for certain that you want a divorce, that is the time to tell them. Here is what you have to watch out for if you hold off or wait. Y
ou are going to have this thought of having to tell them on your mind constantly until you tell them. It will consume you and you will be thinking about it all day and night and it will effect you. The other thing you need to be mindful of is that you may start to look for things they are doing wrong more often or frequently, in more of a coping method for you to make them out to be the bad person so it makes it easier for you to break the news.
While this may work in helping make them the bad person, it will certainly effect the delivery of the news to them. You may have this sick feeling in your stomach as you wait to tell them. The longer you wait the more you will feel this sick feeling. I can tell you from experience that my clients feel a sense of relief once their feelings are out in the open and they have discussed this with their spouse.
The other “when” is time of the hour, day or week. Think of your normal schedule and try to find the right time. It might be better to wait until your spouse has unwound from work for a while, but before they start into their glass of wine or beer.
This discussion is best done sober, and that goes for both of you. If you are going to have a cocktail, have it after you guys have talked. Do you tell them on a weekend or weekday? Is it better that you have the discussion on a weekday where at least during the day you are not together and risk the chances of fighting?
Maybe right after discussing this it is best to have a little space between you. Or maybe you would rather discuss this on the weekend where you do have additional time to talk and discuss the details of the divorce. You will have to make a judgment call.
Now, when you have figured out when you are going to talk to your spouse, what words are you going to use? How are you going to start the conversation? My recommendation is to think of it as firing an employee. I am not trying to diminish the circumstances, just trying to put this in perspective of the type of tone you need to have.
When you are going to fire an employee, you don’t start talking about all the things they have done and provide reasons and examples or apologize or provide excuses. You just say, “you’re fired” or “I have to let you go”. I prefer the latter of those examples. The divorce equivalent of those phrases is, “I want a divorce” and “I can’t be married to you anymore”. Again, I like the second one better than the first.
The direct route is going to serve you well in this situation and you need to get right to the point. “I wanted to speak to you because I need to tell you that I can’t be married to you anymore”.