How To Ask for a Divorce: Best Way to End Your Marriage

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By Divorce & Finance

Ask for a divorceWhen you finally decide it’s time to ask for a divorce from your spouse, you should do it respectfully and peacefully.

Indeed, initiating the divorce conversation can be difficult for anyone, but doing it right could provide for a less contentious divorce.

While there is no one-size-fits-all procedure for asking for a divorce, choose the right time and place to have that conversation. This article will help you be better prepared to ask for a divorce by giving you practical tips.

How To Ask for a Divorce

In your mind, the time is ripe to start the conversation with your spouse.

But what is the best way to start this discussion?

Below are tips to help make this difficult conversation easier:

– Get Fear Out of the Way

It is undeniable that a divorce can be a tough issue to deal with, even for the bravest. With the first step of asking for divorce being the most challenging for most people, you have to be bold to get that stage behind you. Being fearful could be a recipe for procrastination, which will only delay the process.

Do not get this wrong – being fearless does not mean being unmindful of your spouse’s emotional status or saying things that could hurt them. It means being ready to start the conversation at the right time and doing it in the best way possible.

– Choose a Good Time and Place

When choosing the time and place to initiate the divorce talk, keep in mind your spouse’s personality traits. If they tend to become enraged or abusive if things do not go their way, you must bring up divorce where you feel safe.

Generally, the right time to ask your spouse for a divorce is when you feel that you would be better off without them and when you have no doubts about doing it.

  • Choosing a Safe Place

If you have children together, pick a time when the kids are not around to avoid any interruptions or having them involved in your discussion. Preferably, choose a private and safe place, such as a quiet restaurant or a counselor’s office, where you can have a lengthy and uninterrupted discussion.

  • Choosing the Perfect Time

Good timing could be key to the direction the divorce takes. Ensure that you choose a time you and your spouse are calm and relaxed. You should also opt for a time when both your schedules aren’t as tight, as you could be distracted by work or upcoming projects.

While there is no perfect time to bring up the divorce topic, you should be mindful of your spouse’s current situation. If they are battling difficult issues, such as job loss or the death of a close person, you should wait until they are over such matters.

– Choose the Most Appropriate Means

Do you plan to ask for divorce over the phone, via text, email, or in person?

The answer to this depends on several things, but the conventional way is to do it in person. However, this could be different depending on how safe you feel and your partner’s preferred communication style.

If you don’t feel safe about bringing up the divorce topic in the same room as your partner, communicating via a call, text, or letter would seem like the obvious option.

Do not put yourself in harm’s way for the sake of being considerate. If you feel that you might be in for a tough time, take the necessary precautions. Most importantly, choose the most appropriate means and prepare better for breaking the news to your partner.

– Be Gentle, But Firm

Being the initiator of the divorce discussion, you are in a better emotional position than your spouse. That said, it is likely that your partner will be blindsided by the divorce talk. That makes it even more important that you prepare what, how, and when you are going to break the news.

Unless your spouse is oblivious to the state of your marriage and relationship, they already know that a divorce is imminent. As such, be firm with your decision but equally gentle. It might surprise you that your partner is unhappy with the marriage and has already anticipated the divorce.

However, that doesn’t mean that it won’t catch them unaware. For that reason, don’t be angry or accusatory. Doing that may be rubbing salt into a wound.

What’s more, your partner may not take your request for divorce as seriously as they would have if you brought the topic in a calm, respectful, and thoughtful way.

– Involve Your Partner Only

If you are already preparing to tell your spouse you want a divorce, avoid making your decision known to many people. It is understandable to want to lean on a family member or friend for advice. However, it is not a good idea to have your intentions known to these people before you ask for a divorce.

Divorce is cumbersome enough when it involves you and your partner – do not complicate it further by letting others in on the matter. Besides having to process everyone’s opinion, involving too many parties makes it easier to portray you as the at-fault party.

It is only right that your partner is the first to know of your intention to sever marital ties. It would come across as disrespect if your spouse found out from your family or friends. Before asking your partner for a divorce, be sure not to reveal your decision to your family or friends.

– Be Patient and Empathetic

Keep in mind that your partner hasn’t had the time to mentally prepare for this discussion. Maybe they don’t want this divorce. You can expect them to lash out to some extent. Give them time to express their thoughts as this might help prevent ugly scenes, such as outbursts.

If you argue with guns blazing, you can expect your partner to retaliate in equal measure. Be calm throughout your conversation but remember to be firm. Caving in will only make things harder for you in the remaining time of your relationship.

– Leave Out the Details

Initiate a divorceWhen it is time to initiate a divorce conversation with your partner, it is not a good idea to overwhelm them with too many details about what to do next.

If you want this process to go on smoothly, take it one step at a time.

This is not the stage to debate who keeps the house, car, or pet. Similarly, avoid discussing divorce-related issues such as child custody, support, or alimony. These are bigger issues that will be settled at a later time.

Make this time only about deciding to get a divorce. That means you should be careful not to agree to anything your partner brings up during this conversation. You are hardly clear-headed as this is an emotional time. Keep this in mind as the promises you make now could be regrets you have to live with later.

Don’t force or push things since you are unsure how long it will take your partner to digest the news. Doing so will be unfair as you already have the upper hand of being the initiator.

– Ask for Divorce Before Moving Out

Unless you are concerned about a volatile or violent partner, you owe it to them to ask for a divorce while still living under the same roof. Don’t pack your bags and leave without notice, and then come back to talk about a divorce.

Doing this will only anger your spouse and push them into acts of revenge. The last thing you need in a divorce is a vengeful spouse, as they could cost you a fortune in legal fees, alimony, child support, and division of marital property.

Preparing to Ask for a Divorce

The approach you take to the divorce discussion hinges on the emotional state of your spouse. Acknowledging the awareness of your spouse to the status of your relationship and marriage helps you better prepare to ask for a divorce.

Talking to another person or a couples’ counselor can also be a good way to clear your head and prepare for the imminent conversation. In addition to highlighting the best practices for asking for a divorce, professionals can help you practice what to tell your spouse.

– Ready for a Divorce

Wanting a divorce is not a decision you make overnight. You must have been through the struggles of trying to make things work out between you and your spouse. If you’ve tried everything and your union is not as fiery as it once was, maybe it is time to move on from your marriage.

Before you take the step of asking for a divorce, be honest with yourself and be sure that you to undergo this painful process. All marriages have their highs and lows – don’t make a hasty decision because of a recent misunderstanding. Also, do not threaten divorce due to anger, frustrations, or trying to get your spouse’s attention.

  • Marriage Counseling As an Option

If your marriage is not irretrievably broken and you can still work things out with your spouse, you should involve a professional counselor. With help from a professional, you can explore your feelings and the condition of your marriage. This will help you establish whether you and your spouse can improve your relationship or whether it is the end of the road.

You can’t “unsay” words you have spoken. Telling your spouse that you want a divorce and then retreating not only irks and hurts them but also portrays you as someone who can’t be taken seriously.

Dealing With a Violent Spouse

If your spouse has a history of domestic violence and you anticipate that they will react violently, you must have the conversation in the safest way possible.

Here is what you should do if you are worried about a potentially violent reaction from your spouse:

  • Get your essential belongings to a family member or friend before informing your spouse. That way, you will have a safe place to retreat once you’ve had the conversation with your spouse.
  • If you have children and keep pets, organize to have them at a safe place beforehand, such as a family member’s or friend’s place.
  • Make your partner’s volatility known to the relevant schools, pet-sitters, caregivers, and your workplace. Also, set boundaries to avoid interference from your partner.
  • Have a conversation with your partner in a crowded public place, over the phone, or via text.
  • File for a temporary restraining order.

If your spouse has been abusive in the past, you’re better off taking the step mentioned above. Be sure to have everything in place before having the divorce talk. Get a safe place to stay and have your belongings under the custody of a trusted individual.

It is also smart to secure your finances before asking for a divorce. Also, have a temporary restraining order ready to be served. Consult with a divorce lawyer if you have doubts about anything regarding the divorce discussion. Most importantly, ensure that your children and pets are in a secure place.

– What To Do After Asking for Divorce

Your course of action after the conversation will heavily depend on your spouse’s reaction. If they reacted poorly to the news, you’d want to ensure that your children and pets stay somewhere safe. If your partner lashes out after getting home, don’t wait for a second invitation to call 911.

If you already have a temporary restraining order, this will help keep your volatile partner away from you and your children. These can be useful as they can last several months before you and your partner accept the situation and begin the divorce process.

After you tell your husband you want a divorce, give him time for the initial shock to wear off. While this doesn’t always happen, you can begin the divorce sooner or even settle for an uncontested divorce if you both handle things calmly.

If there were substantial toxicity in your spouse’s reaction, it would be wise to start preparing for the legal side of divorce. Do your research to find a divorce attorney that fits your budget and situation.

It is also common for spouses to struggle to cope with the news of a potential divorce. As such, it would help to seek the help of a professional coach or counselor. Such professionals will offer advice and support and assist with the financial side of your divorce.

Tips for a Peaceful Divorce

Even if you want a peaceful divorce and ask your spouse nicely, it is undeniable that this process is often characterized by anger and frustration. If you do not handle your emotions, it is easy for one to go down a dark road. Divorce processes can drag on for several months or even years, and spouses should strive to remain in a healthy mental state.

– Don’t Be Pressured

The best way to achieve this is by avoiding being pressured into something that feels off. Discuss with your attorney about filing a divorce petition. With their assessment, you will know the best time to serve the divorce papers, preferably when your spouse is in a decent state.

– Avoid Unnecessary Drama

While waiting to file the petition, avoid being too pushy as this could stir unnecessary drama when it is time for negotiations. Remember, you already had the time to work your way out of the feelings of depression and loss.

– Consider Your Partner’s Mental State

While you could have already detached from your marriage and spouse, your partner probably hasn’t. For their mental clarity, allow them a window to catch up. That way, you will be on the same page and harmoniously work things out.


How to ask for a divorceAsking for a divorce is often the beginning of the end of your marriage. Regardless of your feelings or relationship with your partner at that time, ask for a divorce peacefully.

This article has highlighted the dos and don’ts of asking for a divorce, so let us recapitulate the discussion:

  • Ask for a divorce nicely, and be mindful of what your partner is going through before starting the conversation.
  • Choose an appropriate time and venue, preferably a quiet and private one, unless you’re concerned about a violent reaction.
  • Unless your partner is violent, ask for a divorce in person. Otherwise, it would only be safe to do it via phone or text.
  • Have your children and pets moved to a safer place, such as a family member’s or friend’s place, before asking for a divorce.
  • Involve a professional divorce coach after asking for a divorce to help you and your spouse with the emotional and financial aspects of divorce

After trying everything to save your marriage, you might feel it is time to walk away. Requesting a divorce is difficult, but doing it peacefully will lay the groundwork for a collaborative case. Most importantly, avoid pushing things too hard to give your partner time to recover from the initial shock.

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Divorce & Finance