Initiating Divorce: How to Discuss the Options With Your Spouse
When you know, you know. This is true for many things in life, including when someone is “right” for you, and when a marriage is over.
But once you know, how do you bring it up with your spouse? While there is never a truly “right way” or “right time” to bring up divorce, it needs to be said so you can start the process and begin to move on with your life.
That being said, there are some ways to talk to them and present the divorce options that are better than others. For the smoothest experience possible, follow the tips below as you plan out your talk, during your talk, and as you discuss the next steps.
Before the Talk
Before you bring up the “D-word,” make sure you’re absolutely certain this is what you want. You don’t want to throw the word around and go back on your decision later.
Once you are sure, start planning for the talk so you have an idea of what you will say and how you will say it.
Do some research into divorce so you have a better understanding of what is to come and what options you can choose from. Get to know the routes of litigation, mediation, and collaborative divorce. You may even begin looking into local attorneys to get an idea of the person you’d like to go through the process with.
Big changes lie ahead – do not rush into talking with your spouse until your mind is fully resolved and at peace with the decision to separate.
During the Talk
Before you bring up divorce, make sure it is not an inappropriate moment. It is never a good idea to bring it up during a fight, or while your spouse is angry, inebriated, or extremely stressed. The best moment is one without interruptions, when both parties are calm and level-headed. This may mean you need to make arrangements for the kids ahead of time so you can have one-on-one time to talk it out.
Once the moment strikes, speak honestly and directly with tact. The conversation will get uncomfortable, but there is no way around that. Remain composed and take deep breaths as you speak.
Give your spouse time to process and respond. This may take some time, and you may need to separate while each of you gather your thoughts. They may feel defensive, hurt, surprised, or even betrayed. Remember, they have not had the time you have to prepare for this moment — they just found out. Give them space to feel it out.
Discussing the Options
Once you have both shared your thoughts on the matter, avoid getting into the nitty gritty. This is not the time to talk about what will happen to the kids, who gets the house, or which assets belong to whom.
Instead, keep it as constructive as possible by working on the next steps. First, you will need to discuss the divorce options mentioned above and determine which route is right for you as a couple so you can begin preparing for the process.
For adversarial couples, litigation may be necessary. For others, a collaborative approach or divorce mediation may be more fitting.
A Healthy Divorce
The divorce alternatives of collaborative divorce or mediation can be two great options for a healthier, more amicable divorce. This is not always possible, but when both parties can work together toward a common goal rather than as adversaries each trying to “win” a settlement, the results can turn out better for everyone.
If you’re ready to take the next steps and begin your mediation or collaborative divorce process, look to the experts at Natalie Baird Mediations and schedule an appointment. We are here to help you get through your divorce in a healthy way.