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How to Tell Your Spouse You Want a Divorce

How to Tell Your Spouse You Want a Divorce

We’ve all heard and read the statistics – “Fifty percent of marriages end in divorce.” While studies do show that approximately half of first marriages in America end in divorce, it’s also true that most people who enter into a marriage do not want or expect that marriage to fail. So what do you do when you come to realize that your marriage is not meant to last “’til death do you part”? How do you break the news to your spouse that you want a divorce?

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Things to Ask Yourself

Before you take that step and tell your spouse that you want to go your separate ways, take a moment to step back and look at the big picture. To make sure you are making the best decision for you and your family, ask yourself the following questions:

  • “Do I Really Want a Divorce?” – This may seem like a silly question, but it can stop you from making an irrational, spur-of-the-moment decision that ends up being a mistake in the long run. Are you 100% sure that you are unhappy with your marriage and that all avenues have been pursued to reconcile? If so, then you truly do want a divorce.
  • “Does My Husband/Wife Know That I Am Unhappy?” – Just because you are unhappy does not mean that your spouse knows it. Unless you have already made it clear to your spouse that you think your marriage is failing, do not jump to the conclusion that he or she knows how unhappy you are. Make sure they know you are unhappy with your marriage long before you broach the topic of divorce. Otherwise, you could give them an unnecessary shock and make the process that much more difficult.
  • “Am I Prepared for a Divorce?” – Divorce is a long, involved, and difficult legal process. Are you ready for the paperwork, the long mediation sessions, the court dates, and everything in between? Are you ready to be single and on your own again?

Only pursue a divorce if you are certain that you want a divorce, if your spouse already knows that you are not happy with where your marriage is headed, and if you are fully prepared for the difficult process of divorce.

When, Where & How to Say You Want a Divorce

Plan ahead of time when it comes to when and where you break the news to your spouse about a desired divorce. Catch them at a time when they are more likely to be level-headed and rational in their response. Maybe prepare them by saying “I have something really important I need to talk to you about. Can we sit down on Friday night to go over it?”

Do not just drop the bomb on your spouse and walk away—schedule it for a time where you know you will be able to sit and talk it over at length. Examples include Friday night or Saturday morning before a free weekend, so that you have a couple of days to cool down, process the information, and talk it over before daily life takes over again.

In some cases, it may be beneficial to get the help of a family therapist or other professional to help you prepare for this issue. Counseling and even role-playing can help you find the right words to say and the right time to say them. You may even be able to break the news to your spouse during a scheduled counseling session.

Most importantly, remain as calm as possible when bringing up the topic of divorce to your spouse. Even if they become emotional or upset, keep calm so that you diffuse the situation as much as possible instead of adding more stress. Again, it may be helpful to have a counselor or lawyer with you to help mediate the situation. Find out if Friedman & Friedman could help you as you seek to make one of the most difficult and important decisions in your life.

Looking to File for Divorce in New York? 

Friedman & Friedman PLLC, Attorneys at Law has more than 30 years of experience in divorce and family law matters. We have helped many clients through the divorce process from start to finish and we are here to help you take that first step. Contact us at (516) 688-0088 if you would like to consult a lawyer today!

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