How & When to Talk to Your Spouse about Divorce
Advice from Our Orange County Divorce Attorneys
Separating from your husband or wife takes a toll on you mentally, emotionally, and even physically. In most cases, you would have lived with your partner for many years, shared intimate experiences, been through the good and the bad together and given your life’s most important years to your family. Ending a marriage can be traumatic. Serious ramifications such as division of property, custody of children, financial state, reactions of family and friends, all make people put off the “separation talk” for as long as possible. But staying in a bad marriage is not a solution either. So you need to get over your anxieties, stop stressing about the consequences, and broach the difficult subject of separation or divorce with your spouse. It will be emotionally draining, no doubt, but there are a few things you can keep in mind, which could help break the news more gently and aid both partners in dealing with the consequences.
Know What You Want
Many spouses have occasional thoughts about divorce, especially if they are facing a rough patch in their marriage or if there have been recurring arguments at home.
That does not mean that you should get up at the first impulse and file for separation. Communicating with your spouse about the problems you are facing and what you both can do to overcome them often helps smooth things out.
Divorce is one of the last ways out of a failing marriage. If you have sincerely tried over time to solve the issues, but all efforts of reconciliation with your spouse have failed, it might be finally time to inform them about your decision to separate.
Think about the consequences of your decision and be ready to deal with them. But before you say anything, be absolutely sure that there is no other way out and divorce is what you want.
Do Your Research
Once you are sure that separation is what you want, you might be impatient to get it over with soon. But divorce is a complicated affair so do good research on how the separation process works, what kind of resources you will need for it, and how it will impact your life.
Every state has different laws dealing with divorce and every person’s circumstances are different too. Read up on local state laws relating to divorce, property rights, child custody, spousal support, and child support.
Find the best local lawyers who specialize in divorce cases and who can help you in your situation. Divorce is much more than two people who stop living together. Therefore it is important to be equipped with proper information before you proceed.
Choose the Right Time & Place
The “separation talk” is not a very pleasant discussion and you want to make sure that you do it at a comfortable time, in a safe and convenient location. Choosing the right time and place can help make the conversation less stressful and traumatic.
The conversation can get very emotional so don’t do it in public. Speak to your partner when you both are at home and in a comfortable state. If either of you is busy, stressed, inebriated or angry, you won’t be able to understand each other well and the discussion can result in more arguing.
Don’t Bring Up Divorce While Fighting
Just like many people think about separation on bad days, many couples throw in the threat of divorce while fighting or arguing.
The problem with this is that you may not realize the gravity of what you have said because you were angry, and this causes things to escalate even when the situation is not that bad.
Secondly, bringing up divorce each time you argue, makes it lose its seriousness and you may be taken lightly. Your partner may feel that you are all talk and no action. This is bad as you won’t be able to get your message across seriously.
If you are sure that you want to go ahead with a divorce, be honest about your wishes and feelings with your partner. Tell him/her what you need and how you want things to proceed. Don’t be harsh or cruel.
Handling the situation in a matured way makes it easier for both spouses to accept the circumstances as they are and think of what they must do next.
Don’t surprise your spouse with the separation talk. If things have been bad for a while, let them know that you are seriously considering divorce. You can also proceed with the instructions of a hired attorney.
Give Your Spouse Time
Processing the news of an impending separation is hard, so put it across as gently as possible and give your partner time to think over it. You need to explain to your partner why you came to this decision and why you think it is the best outcome for everyone involved.
Use your words carefully while breaking the news and don’t utilize clichés like “We need to talk” or “It’s not you, it’s me.” Be patient with your spouse but do not stall the separation process.
Look for Amicable Solutions
It is sometimes difficult to be on good terms with your partner once you have begun the divorce proceedings. But remember that the consequences of your actions affect not just the two of you but your children, parents, and others too.
As far as possible, look for mutually beneficial solutions when it comes to the custody of children, visitation rights, child care, management of finances, and ownership of assets.
Amicable settlements are good for both partners in the future. There will be less hostility towards each other and the whole process will be easier on the children.
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