How to Ask for a Divorce

As discussed in our previous blog post, divorce is a sad reality, though sometimes the alternatives have become less and less realistic. For those who have carefully and thoughtfully considered their situation and come to the decision that it is time to ask for a divorce, the first challenge they face will be figuring out how they should ask.

After all, asking for a divorce is certainly daunting – just thinking about where to begin is enough to paralyze the average person in fear.  Honesty is always the best policy –however, that being said, you must remove the ego when you are being “honest” so as to deliver the message in a way that it will be heard.  What we perceive as reality is only our perception, so approach the words divorce, separation, mediation or divorce lawyer with caution.

If you need to lay down the harsh reality that your marriage has come to an end and you are planning for divorce, then speak with love and (above all) clarity.  There is nothing worse than being wishy-washy about this life-defining topic.  If the marriage is done, then it is done and the best way to approach the conversation is with certainly.  If you do not do this then you are going to send mixed messages and that is unfair.

Do not immediately bring up the words “divorce lawyer” or you will send your spouse into an unnecessary state of fear.   You can approach the “how to divorce” later – whether mediation or family lawyers, leave that to another conversation.   Of course, I have a bias – no need to fight ever – period!

A few do and do not’s when asking for a divorce:

  • Use only “I” statements not “you” (ie: “I want a divorce”, “I think it’s time we separate”)
  • Do not bring up the past – there is no need as the time for counseling has passed
  • Speak in short, concise sentences
  • Men appreciate short and to the point – be clear and concise
  • Women like a bit more detail – but do so using “I” language.
  • Do not start another relationship until you have a settlement agreement signed by you and your divorce lawyer
  • Do not talk about how to get divorced in the heat of the moment (read “Clean Break” before you make the decision to hire a lawyer as there is no turning back)
  • Do not ask for a divorce unless you are 90% sure (100% will never happen)
  • Be in a peaceful place before you have the conversation
  • Do not – at any cost- get into lengthy dialog.  If you do find that you are reminiscing about the past – negatively or positively – you do not have clarity – so wait.
  • People with certainty are forthright and confident about their intentions – use that as a road map

Knowing how to ask for a divorce and carefully thinking through your position before you enter into the conversation can help avoid blow-ups or miscommunication; consider the tips we’ve given and go in with a plan.

Most of all – have the conversation with love and respect regardless of what the other person says. Do not feel guilty – as it is only misguided anger!

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