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Tampa Family Law Attorney
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How do I ask my spouse for a divorce?

Deciding to divorce is the first big step, but telling your spouse about your decision is another matter altogether.

The timing and language you use to tell your spouse of your decision can have a huge impact on their reaction.

Consider why you want the divorce. Has your spouse been unfaithful? Have you been unfaithful? Identifying the reason why you want to divorce and how the blame will most likely fall in the eyes of your spouse can help you predict their reaction.

Preparing for the Conversation

Once you have decided that you do want to pursue a divorce from you spouse, you will need to emotionally and mentally prepare for the conversation.

Begin by bringing yourself to an emotionally calm place. Remove feelings of anger, fear, guilt, pride, or judgment by talking with a trusted friend, or writing down your feelings. Once you have fully explored your feelings, you can look at them from a logical standpoint, allowing you to better control your emotions during this challenging time.

Next, write down specific things that you would like to forgive your spouse for. The conversation you are preparing for is not one where you rehash all of your past wrongdoings. Your goal is for both of you to be able to start a new life with a clean slate. By mentally forgiving your spouse ahead of time, you can have a more open, honest conversation with less emotional trauma.

Finally, consider how your spouse is most likely to respond, what objections they may have, and what they are most likely going to say about you. Forgiving yourself for wrongdoing is just as important as forgiving them. If you have already forgiven them and yourself, then it will be much easier to manage the conversation.

When, Where, and How To Tell Your Spouse You Want A Divorce

Timing: While the middle of an argument seems like the ideal time to ask for divorce, this often leads to much more emotional, blame-driven conversation than when handled at another time. Choose a time when you are both relatively calm, children are not around, and you have ample time to discuss what divorce means for both of you.

Location: Choose a neutral location where you both feel comfortable. If you still live together, this may be your living room or other common area. Restaurants, libraries, and other public spaces are not ideal for such a personal conversation, unless you believe that your spouse may become violent or dangerous to you, themselves, or others. If this is the situation, we recommend calling us first so that we can help you find a safe place.

Language: Begin by telling your spouse that you want to talk. Be straightforward and begin the conversation by telling them you have given it a lot of thought, and that you plan to file for divorce. Stating that you plan to file shows definite intention and shifts the conversation. Saying that you aren’t happy in the marriage opens up the conversation to bartering and discussion. Calmly stating that you have already taken steps to end the marriage lets them know that you are serious. Use “I” statements rather than blame statements, and avoid saying things like “there are things we need to work on.” You don’t want to give false hope or tear them down. This will already be hard enough for both of you.

Once you have had the discussion, give them time to process the information on their own before you begin discussing next steps. Let them know that you will be spending a couple of days with a family member, or ask that they do so so you both have time to prepare on your own.

No Matter What, Be Civil

Chances are, your spouse has seen warning signs of your unhappiness, but may not be prepared for this conversation. Treat them with the respect that they deserve. A calm demeanor can often be contagious.

We recommend meeting with your attorney prior to letting your spouse know of your intentions, so that you can make sure you have a handle on how divorce will impact you and your life. Your attorney can help you understand what to expect post-divorce, so you can be more confident in your decision.

For divorce assistance, contact the Divorce Attorney Tampa for your Free Consultation at (813) 336-3616.

The information provided is for your reference only, is not intended to be advice, and should not be construed as such. The information provided or legal statutes may change at any time, and we are not accountable for the accuracy of this information. Use of this website or information provided does not constitute a client-attorney relationship. Please contact us for legal assistance with your specific question or need.