HAVING THE DIVORCE DISCUSSION
You’re here at the end of a long journey – one that has likely been fueled by frustration, disappointment, guilt, sadness, fear, anger, and pain. There’s no easy way to get through it but at some point, you’ve realized divorce is the best option in front of you.
You have concluded this is the right step to take, you realize you need to find a way to bring the subject up with your partner. For many people, this is harder than coming to the conclusion in the first place. Fear of hurting them or arousing their anger can hold you back from talking to them. Here are a series of steps to help you through this process.
BE REAL WITH YOURSELF
It’s important you start with a commitment to be honest with yourself. It’s very likely your spouse is also unhappy with the relationship and knows something is wrong. Even if you think you do a good job of carefully concealing your feelings, most people can sense that there’s a deep problem.
Take a moment to assess where you think their mental state is today. If you truly believe your spouse is oblivious to the problems, you need to be prepared for them to be surprised as well as hurt and angry.
SET THE STAGE
We’re not suggesting something dramatic but there are a few key things that you must do when sitting down with your spouse to have this discussion.
- Do it during a time when the two of you are alone.
- Find a time when you feel comfortable that you can talk for a while uninterrupted – plan for at least 1 to 2 hours for the initial discussion.
- Make sure outside distractions are eliminated – turn off the television, switch phones to vibrate, and put away other electronic devices.
GETTING IT OUT THERE
Starting the discussion can be the most difficult part. Avoid blame and judgment. Focus on being clear; make the conversation about the relationship and not about them personally.
If you’re struggling for a way to start, you can use the script below for some ideas:
- Sarah, I have something difficult to say. After careful thought and consideration, I’ve realized I cannot continue in our marriage and I am planning to file for divorce.
- I’ve been struggling with this decision for a long time but I’ve come to realize that nothing will change for us.
- I believe this is the best decision for our family and while I know it isn’t going to be easy, I believe we can handle this in a way that will ensure we’re both taken care of and protects our kids as much as possible.
WHAT TO EXPECT
Even if they are aware things aren’t going well in the relationship, most people have an immediate reaction where they reject the idea of the divorce. Not because they think it’s the wrong thing to do but because it’s a natural reaction to a major life changing event. Some people get angry, begin crying, or will even bargain with you. You can’t make them feel better about it. You can’t diminish the pain or lessen the anger – and you shouldn’t.
Your role here is simple to listen.
You can acknowledge their feelings but you absolutely must avoid getting into a discussion about fault or causes. The best approach is to emphasize things aren’t working and you realized divorce was the best option. Eventually the discussion will taper off. They will need time to process their feelings. No matter what, this is not the time to discuss the specifics.
The truth is, you don’t have to do it alone. You have options when it comes to filing for divorce. Some options are better than others and truly dependent on your goals. If you are focused on preserving the relationship you each have with your kids and aren’t interested in a long, drawn-out legal battle where no one but the attorneys win, then collaborative divorce could very well be the best option.
A good collaborative divorce attorney will take the time to walk you through the steps and ensure a positive outcome for all parties, including the kids. After your discussion, you discuss the next steps with a qualified mediator and legal counsel. At Ogborne Law, this is your initial consultation with Michelle N. Ogborne.
Once you start the process with us, we’ll help you step by step through what needs to be done to successfully navigate the difficulties of divorce and ultimately protect your kids from the emotional destruction that is all too common.
Contact Ogborne Law today and let us show you how we can help protect your kids and your family.
The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. We invite you to contact us and welcome your calls, letters, and electronic mail. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please do not send any confidential information to us until such time as an attorney-client relationship has been established.