If you find yourself in the challenging position of knowing that you want a divorce – but also knowing that your spouse likely has no clue – you may not know how to proceed. While nothing can make this heartbreaking task any easier, there are considerations that you can help you make the best of a terrible situation.
The decision to end a marriage is typically very difficult and a life-altering event. If you have thoroughly considered ending your marriage and know it's the best decision, you are going to have to find way to break the news to your spouse.
It's not easy, but there are some steps to consider before making the announcement to your spouse. Obviously, you are seeking to make the discussion as constructive as possible.
If you are considering divorce – or have already made the difficult determination – consult with an experienced Los Angeles divorce and family law attorney at our law firm. There are some important steps to take before asking your spouse for a divorce.
Asking Your Spouse for a Divorce
The truth is there is no nice or pleasant way to ask an unsuspecting spouse – or even a spouse who may have his or her suspicions – for a divorce. At best, it's going to be an awkward conversation. What you don't want to do is alienate your spouse and, in the process, set yourself up for all-out war. As such, there are certain tips that you should keep in mind:
Tip 1: Be Absolutely Sure that You Want a Divorce – If you are going into this momentous conversation hoping to shake your spouse up and to right your marriage, you are going about things the wrong way. Seeking marital counseling is a better answer. Remember that words, once spoken, cannot be unsaid, and those words can have lingering negative effects. If, on the other hand, you have taken the time do some soul searching and have determined that a divorce is the only path forward for you, you should feel comfortable proceeding.
Tip 2: Carefully Choose Your Words – In many cases, your decision to pursue a divorce will come as a shock to your spouse. Of course, if your spouse was also not happy in marriage, the news might not come as a surprise. When you are telling your spouse you want to divorce, you need to remain calm and take a diplomatic approach. Don't just start the conservation with a blunt and loud “I'm over this already and want a divorce.”
Your demeanor on how you begin the discussion could set the tone and make the divorce process much easier. Clearly, if you start the discussion with allegations, screaming, arm waving, anger, jealously, and resentment, it would not be reasonable to expect easy divorce proceedings. In other words, use some common sense.
Tip 3: Carefully Consider Where Your Spouse Is on the Issue – If your partner is blissfully unaware of the trouble brewing in your marriage (some people are very good at ignoring what is right in front of them), you are going to want to proceed differently than if you and your spouse are probably thinking the same thing.
However, but neither of you wants to bring up the difficult topic. Carefully consider your unique situation and proceed accordingly. An experienced couples' counselor can help you explore your feelings and your best options before you formulate your plan.
Tip 4: Carefully Choose the Time and Location – There is a big difference between springing your desire for a divorce before your spouse's all-important board meeting and doing so when you both have the time, energy, space, and personal resources to really absorb the topic and to adequately address it.
Choose a time and place where you will be comfortable, won't be strapped for time, and won't be interrupted. Don't forget about your children – enlist a trusted friend or family member to watch them while you and your spouse tackle this difficult topic. Timing is critical, and it is important to recognize that your intention isn't to make your spouse's life more stressful or difficult but to find a civilized way for both of you to separately move forward with your lives.
Tip 5: Imagine that the Shoe Is on the Other Foot – You wouldn't be putting this much effort into asking for a divorce if you didn't recognize exactly how significant and hurtful the topic is. The best way to ensure that you don't misstep in starting this conversation is to imagine that the shoe was on the other foot, and your spouse was asking you for a divorce.
Treat your spouse with the same compassion, kindness, and respect that with which you would want to be treated. If you can manage this, it will provide you with the peace of mind that comes from knowing that you did the very best you could.
Tip 6: Prepare for Divorce Wisely – You have determined that you definitively want a divorce, and you've planned the time and the place in which to discuss this important decision. Now, you have to figure out how to get your affairs in order. You will need to know how to respond to a divorce petition.
Now that a divorce is on the horizon, you will need to start preparing accordingly. This means you should begin collecting documentation involving your community property with your spouse and your separate property you brought after the marriage.
You may need to consult with a financial professional to closely examine your shared and personal assets so you can get an idea of what to expect from the divorce. Of course, if there are children with your spouse, you will need to find a way to get them involved in the discussion by making sure they know the decision to divorce does not have any impact on how much you love them.
Retain a Los Angeles Divorce Lawyer
If you are determined that you're ready to seek a divorce in California, consult with our experienced Los Angeles divorce and family law attorneys. We understand that you have reached a difficult decision and will need skilled legal representation to guide you through the divorce process.
Our law firm serves clients throughout Southern California, including the greater Los Angeles area and the San Fernando Valley. We are committed to helping you and protecting your best interest. To schedule a free consultation, contact us at 818-528-3471.
Furman & Zavatsky
15821 Ventura Blvd #690
Encino, CA 91436