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How Do You Bring Up The Subject Of Divorce?

Even if you know you’re both thinking about it, and even if you’ve discussed it in the past, when you are finally ready to put an end to your marriage, it can seem incredibly difficult to find the right words. And then there’s the issue of finding the right time and place, as well.

With over 300 years of collective experience handling divorce cases, the team at Holstrom, Block & Parke, APLC, has seen a wide variety of approaches when it comes to starting the divorce conversation. What works well for one couple may not be the best idea for another, but here are some ideas and factors to consider as you prepare.

Choose a Time and Place Where You Can Focus

Planning to bring up the subject of divorce is a little like planning a surprise party. Even if the sense of anticipation is one of dread rather than joy, you still need to choose the right time and place to spring the surprise. Instead of picking a time when the most people of guests can come, you need a time when the two of you will be alone for long enough to hold a serious discussion. You need a quiet place where you feel safe and comfortable. If you regularly watch TV in the evenings to wind down, this might be a good time, as long as it is not so late that one or both of you are so tired that you can’t think straight. Turn off the TV and put away cell phones to avoid distractions.

If you have kids, you might want to choose an afternoon when you can have a family member or friend watch the kids so that you don’t have to worry about being interrupted. And if you are concerned that your spouse could react violently, make sure you have a plan for your own safety.

Practice Focusing on “I” Instead of “You” When it Comes to Blame

Your conversation needs to be even and rational, to the greatest extent possible. One way to sabotage rationality in a conversation is to introduce blame, and it can happen before you’re even aware of it. You can prevent yourself from being swept into the blame game by making your statements selfish, believe it or not.

Focus on yourself and how you feel. “I don’t like it when you criticize me in front of the kids” is much easier to accept than “you always criticize me in front of the kids,” which sounds like an accusation. Try practicing a few phrases, such as “I get worried when you spend so much money” or “I feel like we’re not equal partners when you disregard my opinions.”

Write Down the Reasons that You Want to End the Marriage

It is natural for a spouse to ask “why” when the other spouse says they want to get a divorce. Even if they know the reasons, they still need to hear it. And that means you need to be prepared. You may have a million reasons that you no longer want to be married, but if you are not prepared to articulate those reasons, you will not be able to give your spouse a satisfactory answer. You both deserve that answer. So write down your reasons, and choose the ones that seem most important and permanent.

You might also write down some things you believe your spouse is unhappy with. If your spouse does not want a divorce, pointing out the issues that make them unhappy in the marriage can help them to agree with the need to end the marriage.

Put Yourself in Your Spouse’s Shoes and Practice What You Want to Say

Try to imagine if you were in your spouse’s position, and consider how you would want to hear the message. Focus on how you can both rebuild better lives going forward. You can write out a speech or just jot down a few words, and then practice delivering your message to the mirror, your phone, or a friend. It doesn’t have to be perfect—in fact, you don’t want to look rehearsed. But you want to feel confident delivering your message, and preparation and practice are the best ways to gain that confidence.

Your Attorney Can Help with Specific Tips to Prepare and Protect Yourself as You Approach Divorce

Divorce is hard, so don’t be afraid to ask for help. When you work with the experienced divorce attorneys at Holstrom, Block & Parke, APLC, our team can share wisdom gained from experience handling all aspects of divorce. We can provide suggestions and guidance, particularly if you are dealing with a controlling, narcissistic spouse or a partner who might try to hide assets or make your life difficult in other ways. To talk to us about the ways we can assist, call 855-426-9111 or contact us online to schedule a confidential consultation.

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