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How to Tell Your Spouse You Want a Divorce [Infographic]

March 16th • 7 min read

Ending a marriage is not an easy decision to make, nor is it one that should be made lightly. One should never make the mistake of threatening a divorce while upset or angry because sometimes, in those heated moments, what we really want is understanding, acknowledgment, and closeness—not permanent separation. Once spoken out loud, it can feel impossible to walk back a threat of divorce, and you may never be able to clear the fallout even if you didn’t mean it.

That said, if the time for counseling is over, you’ve been unhappy for awhile, and have finally realized that this is the right move for your emotional and mental health, then the next step is telling your spouse. The following is a look at how to tell your husband you want a divorce or how to tell your wife you want a divorce, without anger and with a plan that will set you up for future success.

How to Tell Your Spouse You Want a Divorce Infographic

how to tell your spouse you want a divorce infographic

1. Do Not Ambush Your Spouse With the News

Your husband or wife may understand that you are unhappy with the marriage, but they may still be in denial that a divorce is coming or may not understand how seriously dissatisfied you are with the marriage. You do not want to blindside your spouse by telling them you want a divorce in an abrupt or passing situation, such as on your way to work or at a friend's BBQ.

Even if this may be easier on you in the short-term, ambushing your spouse with the news will likely be detrimental in the long-run as you go through the emotional, physical, and legal aspects of divorce. Instead, let your spouse know that there is something serious you need to discuss and schedule a one-on-one time with them.

2. Choose a Quiet, Private Place

If you don’t want to have this conversation at home, consider a private yet public place where you and your spouse won't be distracted or interrupted. If you've been undergoing counseling therapy, then choosing the therapist's office can be a great decision as both of you should feel safe and able to ask and answer questions with a professional setting healthy boundaries. If you aren't in therapy, a private area of a park may be a good space.

3. Mentally Prepare Yourself for Their Reaction

This can be the hardest part of telling your husband or wife that you want a divorce, and it may be the reason why you've delayed so long. Confrontation is a very hard thing for most of us, which is why it can be incredibly helpful to have this conversation with a couple's therapist.

If you don't have a therapist but need some help, you might work with a close mutual friend who can help both of you keep level heads. It's important for you to stay calm and be ready to answer any questions they might have.

4. Do Not Place Blame Or Make “You” Statements

Maybe you want a divorce because of a fault you perceive of them, such as their high spending habits or low sexual drive. While such reasons are within your right and are common reasons for a divorce, it is not a good idea to frame your discussion in this manner as it can lead to more anger, denial, and emotional outbursts. So instead, reframe the issues you're having and use "I" statements, focusing on neutral language that is sympathetic to the other person's feelings but still underscores your own.

For example, if his overspending is the issue, then consider framing the conversation as, "I need to be in a place where I am financially secure." If her low libido or a dead bedroom has been the root cause of your dissatisfaction, then say, "I need more physical connections to be happy."

5. Emphasize That You Want a Divorce (Not a Separation)

There are some states that require married couples to live apart from each other for a set amount of time (which can be as much as a year) or require couples to file for a legal trial separation before they can file for a divorce. Florida is not one of those states. In fact, we're quite the opposite. Here, our Daytona Beach divorce team can help you apply for a fast divorce process known as a “Simplified Dissolution of Marriage” which can make the process from filing to finalization happen as quickly as 30 days—so long as the divorce is uncontested, there are no dependent children, and terms are agreed upon by both members (which is why it's so important to know how to tell your spouse you want a divorce calmly).

In any case, your spouse may try to negotiate a separation, but if you know divorce is what you want, emphasize it. Do not postpone your life with a separation that you know won't work.

6. Don’t Make This Conversation About Details (But Do Start Planning Them)

The conversation in which you tell your spouse that you want a divorce should only be the conversation in which you talk about the divorce. Keep it short and to the point. You can explain the reasons behind your decision and make a quick note about what you're going to do next (i.e. move out if you haven't already), but don't go too far into the details.

Instead, explain to them why with your "I" statements, listen to what they have to say, emphasize your divorce, and then agree to talk at a later point. Avoid bringing up things like custody arrangements, dissolution of property, and other details during this discussion. While important, this is an emotionally charged moment—not one in which you want to quibble about how the brokerage account is going to be divided. Instead, keep these things in mind and schedule a talk with your divorce attorney and a later meeting with your spouse.

Talk With a Divorce Attorney in Daytona Beach Today

Now that you know the basics of how to tell your spouse you want a divorce, the next step is to start tidying up those details and get the legal necessities out of the way. Here at The Law Offices of Leonard R. Ross, our divorce team is here to help you organize your estate and arrange for a dissolution of marriage. Every divorce is different and most are difficult, but filing for a divorce can be especially frustrating if you have an array of assets or any children. Let our team take the reins and help steer you through this difficult period. Contact us today at (386) 200-9950 to learn more.