How to Ask for Separation or Divorce: 4 Tips to Keep the Conversation Civil
Divorce is heartbreaking, even if you’re the person asking for a split. After all, nobody enters a marriage expecting it to end, and nobody begins searching for the exit without first investing enormous energy and love. If you have decided that a separation or divorce is your best option, it is because all alternatives have failed. This is sad and hard—but one way you can ease the burden of this decision is to think carefully about how to broach the subject with consideration and care. Not only does doing so protect your dignity, but it also shields you from your spouse’s anger, sadness, or even apathy, and sets the tone for a civil procedure.
- Plan Ahead
Nobody decides spontaneously that they want a divorce and, likewise, nobody should initiate the conversation on an impulse.
As you think about how best to ask for a divorce, think about how your spouse might react. Are they blissfully ignorant of your unhappiness? Do they share your dissatisfaction? Will the subject catch them off-guard, or has it been a long time coming?
The better you are able to anticipate the course of the conversation, the better you can prepare for a difficult discussion. Often, it helps to find the words for your feelings in conversation with a therapist or trusted loved one. Dry running the conversation not only ensures that you can clearly explain your needs and increases the likelihood that you will be truly heard.
- Be Mindful of Time and Place
As you grow clear on your desire for a separation or divorce, the need to act can feel urgent. This is a normal response to the tension and anxiety surrounding the situation, yet it is rarely a good idea to lean into this urgency.
As long as you are safe, it is important to consider when and where to let your spouse in on your thoughts. While it may feel uncomfortable to wait, this discomfort will only multiply if your timing is poor.
Take not only your spouse’s present state of well-being into account, but that of any children you may have, too. If, for instance, a grandparent recently passed, you may want to wait for this disruption to subside before you act. Likewise, if a birthday or important milestone is on the horizon, it may be in your children’s best interest to hold off until this event is behind you.
When you do finally talk, choose a private place free of distraction, and a time free of pressure.
- Be Kind and Listen…but Hold Firm
How you start the conversation will have an enormous impact on its outcome. While no divorce is ever easy, some are certainly more complicated than others. Anger is an important feeling that often serves to protect a person from damage, but it rarely helps to let it dictate the tone of your conversation.
Children may be traumatized by exposure to conflict between parents. If you have little ones, this is reason enough to prioritize compassion in your approach. If not, remember that compassion coupled with healthy boundaries, ultimately makes the process easier, cheaper, and more expedient.
- Seek Professional Counsel
Divorce lawyers serve not only to help you navigate the legal repercussions of divorce but are also a valuable source of insight and support. While couples therapy or a related professional is the person best suited to help you care for your mental health, an experienced divorce lawyer can provide insight into how other couples have successfully navigated the separation process.
To learn more, or to address any other questions related to divorce, do not hesitate to reach out to the divorce lawyers at Lazor Rantas, PC either by calling 973-457-8844 or by using our contact form.
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