How To Tell My Spouse I Want a Divorce

Are you worried about how to tell your spouse you want a divorce? Letting your spouse know you want to get divorced can be difficult, emotional and may be devastating to your spouse. You may have been talking to friends, family members or even a therapist about your marital situation for some time, but have never taken the step to bring up the possibility of divorce with your spouse.

When you tell your spouse and how you tell your spouse can make a difference in how the divorce then unfolds. If you want to try and minimize the emotional upheaval your announcement will bring and any conflict which could then arise, the following tips may assist you.

Beating around the bush or dropping subtle (or not so subtle) hints, in the hopes your spouse will realize what is about to happen can create antagonism and make matters worse. It is important that you are honest about your intentions. There is no reason to be cruel or disrespectful. Honest, open communication can lead to an amicable divorce, and avoid what could be a messy or contentious divorce.

When you tell your spouse, how are you going to phrase it?

Make decisions about exactly what you want to say to your spouse prior to the discussion. You don’t want to just blurt out that you want a divorce. That could catch your spouse completely off guard. Establishing a respectful tone can be very helpful in how your divorce is finally resolved.

Take the time to figure out what you want to say and how you want to say it to cause the least amount of upset possible. Avoid placing the blame on your spouse and take his or her feelings into consideration. Be kind, while at the same time, honest and truthful.

Be open to any response your spouse may have, and be willing to talk it out. Even if your spouse gets angry, yells, screams or cries, remaining calm is important. Do your best to understand the emotional impact you are creating, and do your best to be compassionate and understanding. If you are willing to work on your marriage, don’t open a discussion with a threat of divorce. Conversely, if you are absolutely determined to seek a divorce, don’t offer false hopes of reconciliation.

Keep in mind you are delivering pretty bad news. You owe it to your spouse to allow for ample time to react, process and respond.

Arrange a time when the two of you can sit down, uninterrupted, and calmly talk things out. It could take a few hours or longer. If you have children, arrange for them to spend the night at their grandparent’s house, a friend’s house or a relative’s house. You don’t want them to be present or to hear your conversation about divorce.

If you are worried about how your spouse will respond, you may want to consider opening the discussion about divorce in a more public location or by asking a neutral third party to be present.

There are many wrong ways a person could go about asking their spouse for a divorce. Attempting to end your marriage by packing your bags and leaving without a word creates turmoil. Filing divorce papers without any prior communication about a separation or divorce may incite anger.

Avoid discussing your divorce with family or friends prior to informing your spouse, as input from others could potentially make matters worse. You are the one who knows what your marriage is, and has been. Give your spouse the respect he or she deserves.

Want to know if divorce is the right answer for your marital problems?

If you are thinking of ending your marriage, there are
several questions to consider.

  • Do you and your spouse argue endlessly, even over trivial things?
  • Is the respect and love you once shared now gone?
  • Do you have the same goals, or are you moving in different directions in life?
  • Do you no longer share the same values?
  • Do you no longer make love or show affection?
  • Have you tried therapy, a trial separation or counseling and nothing has worked?

Ask yourself honestly what you would tell a friend if he or she were in your shoes. If the relationship you and your spouse once had is no longer working, your marriage may be beyond repair, and divorce may be the only answer.

If you are ready to file for divorce, an experienced attorney should be available to answer your questions, and to guide you through the legal steps in the divorce process. We offer information on steps to take before you initiate a divorce to ensure you have the documents you need in order, that you plan for changes in your financial situation, and that you consider arrangements for your children. You may also be concerned about another “family member” – your pet. Your attorney should help you make plans for the future of your pet as you go through your divorce, too.

A good divorce attorney should have as their objective to help you achieve the most positive outcome, smoothly and with the least contention. An amicable divorce with the terms arranged between the two of you outside of court is better for you, your spouse and your children. Your attorney should help you seek to avoid a contested divorce when this is possible.

Unfortunately, there are some relationships that have deteriorated to such a degree that the other party is completely unreasonable and refuses to compromise or be fair. In these cases, it may be necessary to take the case to the court for resolution, and the quality of your divorce attorney could not be more critical to the eventual outcome.

Divorce brings about a major life change. Having these tips in mind may help the difficult process go more smoothly.


Charles Ullman & Associates provides you respected, experienced and knowledgeable divorce and family law attorneys. You can trust us to help you through the legal process efficiently and effectively so you can transition to the next phase of your life. Our community involvement reaches beyond charitable support of important causes. We launched our own movement in Fraternities4Family and provide scholarships to able students in need.