You have been unhappy for awhile. Maybe your spouse has been too. Perhaps you’ve even been sleeping in separate bedrooms for months. When you speak to one another, the conversation is civil but entirely lacking warmth. For months, the only thing that has really kept you together in your relationship is the children and your concerns about what a divorce could do to them, but seeing a counselor has helped you deal with those feelings.

Finally, you have reached a decision. Even though your life will be in upheaval for a while as a result, you have decided to get a divorce. Now it’s time to tell your spouse, but you’re concerned. You suspect they are not yet ready to accept that the relationship is over and worry that they will derail the conversation and/or beg you to reconsider. What can you do to keep the conversation productive?

Plan Ahead

First, if you fear their reaction, let someone else know that you’re planning on breaking the news today. Maybe you can have a friend nearby or you can choose a public setting in case the conversation turns hostile. Next, select a time when you and your spouse will not be interrupted. Make sure the kids are elsewhere. Once you are ready to talk, follow these four ways to keep the conversation both respectful and on-track.

Be Respectful

Maybe you’re angry that they neglected you or yelled at the kids a lot or wasted money you couldn’t afford to lose. Now is not the time to show it. Instead, take a deep breath and tell them that you have difficult news to share. Then say you want a divorce, without suggesting that they is to blame. Acknowledge that this will be a painful and difficult process for the entire family and express the belief that the separation can be done with respect and decency.

Make It Clear That Your Decision Is Made

If your spouse is not ready for a divorce, they will probably try and talk you out of it. They may become angry, tell you that you’re wrong, and demand to know how you could do this to them and the children. Once you hear them out, remind them that your decision is irrevocable and you will not be dissuaded. Repeat your desire to have a decent and civilized divorce that respects everyone’s needs and feelings, and tell them that you will give them the time they need to accept the situation.

Do Not Argue or Defend Your Decision

If your spouse’s commentary is aggressive or inflammatory, you may be tempted to shoot back some complaints and accusations of your own. Don’t do it. If they keep criticizing you, listen quietly and hear them out, and even encourage them to keep talking. Understand that they are likely in pain. Although doing so may be difficult, try summarizing your perception of their viewpoint so that they feel you at least understand where they are coming from.

Be Reassuring

The moment they realize you want a divorce, your spouse will likely be anxious about financial issues and their future relationship with your children. Will you take everything, forcing them to live elsewhere? Will they be able to see the kids?

Acknowledge these fears and reassure them that you are confident that both of you will come to a fair and reasonable agreement, without legal action and undue court involvement. Remind them, however, that tonight is not the time for such discussions. Empathize with them, but explain that neither of you is ready to settle these issues right now.

There is no easy way to announce that you want a divorce, but keeping the conversation productive can set the tone for the most amicable process possible. If you require divorce representation and guidance, the Dallas divorce attorneys at Alexandra Geczi, PLLC are here to help you. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to our team!