How to ask for divorce

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Ask for divorce —a guide for men

Like many life decisions, the decision to dissolve your marriage should not be entered into lightly. Dissolving the marital bond will have far reaching emotional and financial consequences which will be amplified if children are involved.  If you are just begging to consider if you should ask for divorce, working with a therapist or marriage counselor can provide you guidance through your current challenges and help you decide the best course of action.

Asking for divorce is a conversation that should be given careful consideration. The tone of this initial conversation has the potential to set the tone for the entire divorce process. Before you sit your wife down to discuss the direction of your relationship there are a few considerations you need to make.

Educate yourself

Educating yourself on your rights, your financial situation, and understanding your expectations for the divorce are valuable to evaluate prior starting the divorce conversation. Once you initiate the talking about divorce, the conversation will most likely progress to all the facets of your life that must be separated. Topics like custody, where you will live and financial arrangements will need to be sorted out. If you can go into the conversation with a clear idea of what you feel is fair, you are less likely to sacrifice things that are valuable to you just to avoid conflict. Conversely, it will be easier to pick your battles if you have a clear idea of what is really important to you.

After you have been able to evaluate your situation and you have a solid understanding of your rights, the next step is to choose a time and place that will allow you and your wife to have a complete and competent discussion. The time and place will be different for everyone, but try and select a time and place that will create an atmosphere that will support conversation. Also, make sure that you are well rested, as relaxed as possible, and have eaten prior to your discussion. It is important to anticipate how your wife might react to the conversation. If there is a possibility that she could become violent to you or herself it will be important to make sure a professional, like a therapist, is involved in planning the divorce conversation.

Starting the conversation

Starting the conversation will be challenging and it is common to want to say your piece and then leave. While this might be your initial reaction; it is important to give your wife the opportunity to talk. Take the time to listen to what she has to say, being respectful now will help set the stage for the rest of the divorce process. And, minimizing conflict during the initial discussion can make your communication more effective and efficient.

Now is not the time to try and win arguments and create more conflict. You can expect old issues to arise that have been contentious throughout the marriage. These issues have most likely been revisited numerous times throughout the relationship; previous fights haven’t resolved them, so they probably won’t be resolved now. This isn’t the time to try and finally win those disagreements, walk away if conversation becomes an unproductive yelling match.

It is essential that the conversation isn’t allowed to escalate into an argument. If the conversation isn’t going well, walk away. Standing your ground could intensify the situation and might lead to allegations of abuse that could make the entire divorce process more difficult —and more expensive.

Asking for a divorce is a daunting proposition. Taking your time, educating yourself, and having a clear plan of action before starting the conversation won’t’ make the discussion easy, but it will make a difficult situation less arduous.

If you want specific advice about your personal situation, our managing attorney Colin Amos will personally answer your divorce and family law questions over the phone at no charge and with no obligation.

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