How to Initiate a Divorce Conversation

Broken heart representing discussing your divorce

I want to help you obtain the most favorable outcome possible in your case.

  • Contact me today for a FREE case strategy meeting.
  • Available in-person, by phone, or by video.
Brett Pritchard Law

If you’re wondering how to start a divorce conversation with your spouse, you are on the right track. Too many people spring the matter on their partners – sometimes simply by having them served with divorce papers – which sets the stage for fireworks to come and generally doesn’t serve anyone’s best interests.

Yes, it’s a difficult conversation to have, but taking the time to get it right can help keep the peace – to the degree possible – during your divorce, and that makes it well worth the effort. Consulting with an experienced Killeen divorce attorney before you start a divorce conversation is always in your best interest.

Be Sure that Divorce Is What You Want

If you’re not sure that divorce is the answer for you but you’re bringing up the subject to make your spouse take notice (and, hopefully, be more attentive, loving, or any other way you’d prefer that he or she act as a result), it can backfire. It is better to have an open conversation about your relationship and see what you can figure out together than to threaten divorce.

However, if your mind is made up and it’s set on divorce, you’ve got a difficult conversation ahead. Nevertheless, there are steps you can take to help things go more smoothly.

Setting the Tone for Your Divorce

When it comes to broaching the subject of divorce with your spouse, it’s wise to think about the tone you want to set. If your instinct is to share your decision, then shut down any discussion, you dishonor your marriage, which was forged in love and open communication. Your spouse will want to talk, and doing so can help you both get a better handle on how best to proceed.

Giving your spouse the silent treatment affords him or her no other choice than to engage in some form of retaliation in an effort to dig needed information out of you. Keeping the lines of conversation open is the right way to go, and it sets the kind of respectful tone you’re going for as your divorce moves forward.

Take the Time to Prepare Yourself

Before you throw yourself into the divorce conversation, it’s important to do some prep work. You don’t want to fumble with your words, and you don’t want to ramble on in reaction to how uncomfortable you are. Instead, you need to let your spouse know that you’re serious, you’ve thought about the matter carefully, and you have a preliminary plan.

Additionally, you want to convey that you’re open to discussing the matter and hearing your spouse out. Empathizing with the hurt your partner is experiencing is also important. In other words, you’ve got a lot on your plate, and having a plan going in can make a considerable difference.

A good place to start is jotting down your talking points. While you don’t want to read a statement to your spouse, having an outline in mind can help you stay focused and speak your mind clearly in the heat of the moment.

Another good idea is considering the questions your spouse is likely to ask you and preparing some basic responses, which offers you the opportunity to delve a bit deeper into your own motivations and may make your thoughts less difficult to express.

A compassionate Killeen divorce attorney can help you plan your discussion with your spouse and brainstorm any points you should be sure to bring up in your conversation.

Get to the Point

If you’re considering how to tell your spouse you want a divorce, you’re on the precipice of something big, and it’s important not to hem and haw about it. The best way to get started is to dive right in as clearly and tactfully as possible. Being clear about your thoughts is the right way to go because being wishy-washy on the topic can be confusing and is a form of gaslighting.

One of the most important elements of every difficult conversation is getting directly to the point. Once you know how you’re going to get the conversation started, it can take a lot of the pressure off of you, which can help you keep your cool if the conversation starts going south.

Be as Honest as You Can

If your mind is completely made up regarding divorce, you need to let your spouse know that up front. To do otherwise could give your spouse a sense of false hope that can cause more pain in the end.

If there is a chance that a lot of hard work and mutual effort might make a difference in saving your marriage, let your spouse know, but be clear with yourself about your intentions. If your real motive is instilling fear in your spouse and prompting him or her to try harder, you’re going about it the wrong way. A divorce conversation should not be a threat.

Practice Makes Perfect

It’s important to note that you’re not preparing to make a speech to your spouse. Further, memorizing what you’re going to say won’t ring true and is likely to sound canned. Your spouse knows you well, and if your announcement seems rehearsed, it can make a very challenging situation even more difficult.

However, practicing what you’re going to say to the degree that it makes saying it less stressful can be immensely helpful. Memorizing your statements won’t help, but spending some time practicing bringing up the topic can. The more comfortable you are saying what you have to say, the better prepared you’ll be to handle whatever comes next.

Let Your Spouse Know Why

You’re ready to call it quits on your marriage, and your decision wasn’t born of nothing. There is little doubt that your spouse is just as aware of the problems in your relationship as you are, but he or she may not be ready to face the issues, may not think they’re as significant as you do, or may simply be one of those people who never gives up.

Whatever the situation is, it’s important to let your spouse know how you came to your decision and what it’s based on. Perhaps you're unhappy or frustrated in the marriage, or you may feel suffocated. People get divorced for all kinds of reasons, and you owe it to your spouse to share your honest thoughts on the topic.

Sharing as much detail as you can helps to flesh out your position and lets your partner know that you’ve carefully considered the matter.

If you’re at the point that you’re ready to pursue a divorce, these topics – and potential fixes – have undoubtedly already come up between the two of you, but this is your chance to lay them down as the foundation for divorce. Beginning the process with an honest conversation helps pave the way toward a less contentious divorce, which is always the goal.

If, despite your best efforts, your divorce turns contentious, you need the assistance of a seasoned Killeen divorce attorney. He or she will have the experience and legal skill needed to keep your divorce on track and protect your rights.

Stay as Calm as You Can

A conversation to initiate divorce is going to be difficult, and it may become heated – but focusing on remaining as calm as you possibly can is helpful. Emotions are inevitable, and you shouldn’t attempt to gloss over or hide them, but putting some effort into keeping your cool can help keep things moving forward smoothly.

Your spouse may react with considerable emotion, which might include anger. It’s very different to be the recipient of news this jarring than it is to deliver it, and respecting how challenging it’s likely to be for him or her is important. You had to do some serious soul-searching to come to this decision, and it’s painful for you, too, but you’ve had some time to process it.

The best approach is sharing your honest emotions about your firm decision to pursue a divorce and allowing your spouse to express his or her own. Staying as calm as you can, given the circumstances, will help keep the conversation on topic.

Stay away from Blame

You’re telling your spouse that you want a divorce, and there’s no need to add insult to injury by casting blame. Now is not the time to bring up past grudges or to focus on either spouse’s foibles or misdeeds.

If your desire to pursue a divorce is based on a specific event, such as your spouse having an affair that broke your trust, be honest about it without specifically blaming him or her. Honesty is key, but the blame game can turn your divorce into a heated battle that won’t do either of you any good.

Your skilled Killeen divorce lawyer can help you prepare for this conversation and avoid contentious blaming, even if you are pursuing a fault-based divorce.

If the Tables Were Turned

It’s important to consider how you would feel if the tables were turned and your spouse was hitting you with a divorce conversation. Treating your spouse how you’d prefer to be treated under these very painful circumstances is the best approach.

While there is no perfect way to do this, Psychology Today shares that there are better and worse ways. If you proceed in a manner that you could respect if it happened to you, you’re heading in the right direction.

Timing Is Key

You’re starting a divorce conversation, and the goal is to have it feel less like you’re dropping a bomb and more like you’re addressing the elephant in the room. You’re both adults, and you both know you’re having relationship problems that need to be sorted out. You’re not sharing anything strikingly new with your spouse, but there’s no denying that it can feel that way.

Getting the timing right is crucial, and the following pointers can help:

  • Make sure you have plenty of uninterrupted time for the conversation to take its natural course.

  • Plan to broach the topic at home. Choosing a restaurant or another public spot can backfire spectacularly. You both need to feel comfortable speaking your minds.

  • Pick a time when your spouse is likely to be more relaxed. Right after a work trip or stressful meeting isn’t ideal.

  • Pick a time that doesn’t compete with your spouse’s favorite hobbies or pastimes. For example, rescheduling is advised if it’s a perfect day to hit the links or a big game is on.

  • This tip likely goes without saying, but kicking off the divorce conversation on a special day, such as your anniversary or your spouse’s birthday, can make it even more painful.

  • Think about your own feelings and plan accordingly. If you’re more comfortable bringing up the topic on a weekend when your kids are with their grandparents, let that be your guide.

While on the topic of your children, it’s important to factor them into your planning. Choose a time when your kids aren’t home and won’t be for a while. It’s impossible to have a meaningful conversation of this magnitude if your kids could interrupt it at any moment.

There’s no need to rattle the children before you find a way to share the fact of your divorce with them together – after you’ve both had time to process the information and you can put forward a united front. As hard as this is on you and your spouse, it’s likely to be even more painful for your children – tread lightly.

For more help on how to tell your children about your divorce, read “Helping Your Children Overcome Divorce: Breaking the News.”

You Need an Experienced Killeen Divorce Attorney in Your Corner

Telling your spouse that you want a divorce may be one of the most difficult conversations you’ll ever have, but help is available. While you’ll want to leave the mechanics of your divorce to a professional lawyer, they can also be an excellent resource in terms of broaching the subject to begin with.

Brett Pritchard at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard in Killeen, Texas, is a compassionate divorce attorney who appreciates your challenging situation and has decades of imposing experience helping valued clients like you move forward in the process – with their financial and parental rights intact.

Our practiced legal team is on your side and here to help, so please don’t put off reaching out to contact us online or call us at (254) 781-4222 to schedule your FREE consultation and learn more about what we can do for you today.

Related Reading

Related Posts
  • Military Divorce and the Survivor Benefit Plan Read More
  • Texas Divorce Based on the Ground of Cruelty Read More
  • Sometimes Fault-Based Divorce Is the Answer Read More