Many marriages fail to work out. The causes vary from infidelity to life changes to financial problems. All you know is that you don’t want to stay with your spouse anymore. The marriage just isn’t working. So, how do you ask for a divorce peacefully? How do you start a divorce conversation without the worry that the conversation will escalate out of control or cause unbearable pain – for either you or your spouse.
A few recommendations when you need to start a divorce conversation
Equitable Mediation, a divorce mediation firm with offices in New Jersey and other states, has a few suggestions:
- Be certain that you do want a divorce. Many marriages have their frustrations. Many marriages can be saved through honest communications. If you are still in love but the marriage isn’t going the way you’d like, you should avoid asking for a divorce. Once you ask for a divorce peacefully, there’s no do-over. You’ll risk losing control of the conversation and hurting your spouse. Instead of discussing a divorce, you might discuss seeing a marriage counselor or therapist to work through your marital issues.
- Select the correct time and place for the discussion. You don’t want to ask for a divorce peacefully in the middle of the night or when you’re in a public place. You don’t want to initiate the divorce conversation if you or your spouse is ill. For starters, you should arrange for someone to look after the children so they’re not involved in the initial divorce conversation. Make sure your smartphone is turned off and request that your spouse turn of his/her smartphone too.
- Be “gentle but firm.” It’s generally not a good idea to focus on blame or to initiate the discussion when you’re angry. The initial discussion can set the tone for the whole divorce process. A good thought is to think how you’d want to be told if you were on the receiving end of the discussion. Kindness and compassion do matter.
- Even when you ask for a divorce peacefully, you anticipate your spouse’s reaction. You should understand your spouse’s emotional state of mind. They may be thinking the marriage is over too. They may be having some doubts. On the other hand, they may be completely blindsided by your request for a divorce. You might consider meeting with a couples therapist to help you role-play the discussion. You should anticipate that your spouse will likely be very upset and even angry when your first broach the topic of divorce. “Frame the conversation with “I” statements instead of “You” statements to avoid placing blame and starting a fight.” Don’t surrender to the resistance your spouse raises.
- Be ready to speak with a counselor. It’s important to minimize the anger and toxicity of the divorce feelings so both spouses can focus on resolving their divorce issues and starting new lives. Even when you ask for a divorce peacefully; a professional divorce counselor or therapist can help you and/or your spouse work towards being ready to discuss a peaceful divorce. Clarity and understanding about the divorce process also make it easier for both parents to explain to their children what’s happening.
You should also consider speaking with an experienced divorce lawyer as possible. Experienced New Jersey family lawyers understand how spouses adjust to the various stages of the divorce – from the initial time you ask for a divorce peacefully to the filing of the divorce papers to the resolution of the custody, child support, equitable distribution, and alimony issues. If you and your spouse both understand the divorce is going to happen, your divorce lawyer may suggest a divorce mediation or divorce collaboration process to resolve the disputed divorce issues.
A few examples of how to ask for a divorce peacefully
Psychology Today has a few suggestions too. Many of the suggestions are similar to those suggested by the Equitable Mediation firm. Psychology Today also suggests:
Starting the ask for a divorce peacefully conversation by saying such things as “I have been unhappy for such a long time, and nothing seems to help us improve our relationship. I am sorry to say this, but I have decided that I want a divorce.” Or, “I need a break from this marriage because I am not happy. I would like a trial separation if you would be willing to commit to six months of marriage counseling to see if we can fix our relationship.”
Think through whether you will be leaving the marital home or you want your spouse to live – while the divorce is pending. For example, you might say. “I’d like you to go stay with your brother for a week or two until we can figure out our next steps.” “I am going to stay with my parents for a while, and I’d like to take the children with me for the week. Let’s talk next week about where we go from here.” You could also suggest staying in the home until the divorce is complete – if you think this will work.
At DeTorres & DeGeorge Family Law, our family lawyers have been advising spouses about the practical and legal issues involved in divorces for nearly 30 years. We’ll explain how to ask for a divorce peacefully. We’ll prepare you for your spouse’s possible reactions. We’ll help you work to a peaceful resolution of your divorce issues – though we’re always ready to go to court if your spouse is uncooperative. To talk with a distinguished family lawyer, call us at 908-691-2104 or complete our contact form to schedule an appointment. We have offices in Clinton and Morristown.