There is no easy way to tell your spouse you want to call time on your marriage. It may not have been an easy decision for you, there could be ill feeling and there is likely to be trepidation at what lies ahead. In addition, there may be some regret and some sympathy for your partner, however bad things have got.
So, how do you do it? We wouldn’t suggest breaking the news in a crowded restaurant or public place as some you may have witnessed on social media. Neither would we suggest making it a snap announcement after a particularly frustrating argument or incident. It should be carefully considered, with thought given to the chain of events it will set in motion. You should be clear on the process and, most importantly if children are involved, make sure they are a primary consideration.
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Sow the seeds
Making a sudden announcement out of the blue is unlikely to get proceedings off to a good start. If you have not been getting on, it will come as no surprise to the other that things are not good, but they may not think you are anywhere near splitting up. Have gentle conversations in advance. Talk about how you feel there may be no long-term solution. Suggest counselling. Talk about what arrangements you might have to make if you split.
Careful how you say it
Show some compassion. Do not just announce it is over and you want a divorce. Sit down with no distractions and gently break the news. If you have properly sown the seeds, it will not come as a surprise. Suggest how you should start moving forward. Look to a brighter future. Do not enflame an already charged situation with harsh or careless words no matter what you think of the person at that point in time. This approach will reap rewards in the end and should lead to a more amicable relationship after divorce, which is particularly important when you have children.
Don’t point the finger of blame
A marriage involves two people – and so does a divorce. There is little point apportioning blame. It does not help, and it will not change anything. Like the point above around avoiding course words, heaping blame on your spouse will enflame a situation. That may make them angry, it may simply upset them further and there is no gain in this. Sadly, the divorce process in England and Wales does still require reasons for divorce. This cannot be avoided but it can be done in a sympathetic way. Use the word “I” more than “you” to explain your decision and feelings about what’s gone wrong between you.
Don’t let it drag on
Once you’ve had the difficult conversation, be ready to separate. Don’t just carry on as normal and think about how it will work a week later. Have the talk and make the move. This means giving it thought in advance. Will you still both stay in the same house? While this is increasingly common, it should involve moving to separate rooms. Better is for one of you to be staying somewhere else, but think about the implication of this on everyday life, such as seeing the children, additional budget required and simple things like will it affect your commute to work.
Plan your future parenting
Children can be knocked sideways by their parents divorcing. When speaking to your spouse about divorce, ensure you talk about arrangements for the children. Like all of these points, it involves giving it some thought in advance.
Reassure your partner that whatever happens, you still want them to be involved as a parent and that this is important to you. You will need to discuss how to break the news to the children and, ideally, this will be done with both of you at the same time, in a calm and familiar environment.
For advice on these issues speak to one of the experienced family lawyers at Woolley & Co, Solicitors on 0800 321 3832.
Written by Andrew Woolley, Woolley & Co Family Solicitors.