Chase, Berenstein and Murray, Counselors at Law provides collaborative divorce solutions to clients in San Mateo, San Francisco and Santa Clara counties.

Is There a Kind Way to Tell Your Spouse You Want a Divorce?

Breaking the news to your spouse that you want a divorce is one of the most challenging conversations you will ever have. But is there a kinder way to approach telling your spouse about your decision than simply blurting it out at the dinner table?

Firstly, communication is key, and where better to broach such a profound topic than in a safe, facilitated environment? If you and your partner are already attending couples counseling, this could be an appropriate setting to initiate the discussion. Not only does it provide a neutral ground, but it also allows for the counselor to assist in navigating the conversation and how you’ll move forward.

If counseling isn’t an option or suitable for your circumstances, clarity and preparedness become paramount. You should avoid sending mixed signals and to approach the conversation with a well-thought-out plan. Understanding which divorce process – whether it’s mediation, collaborative, or litigation – aligns with your needs can streamline the discussion and pave the way for a smoother transition.

However, remember that not all situations are alike, particularly if there has been any domestic abuse or intimate partner violence. In these instances, safety takes precedence in planning when and how you tell your spouse.  You should seek professional guidance on how to tell your spouse you want a divorce and to extricate yourself from the situation.

Regardless of the circumstances, the importance of expressing your intentions respectfully and articulating your post-divorce goals cannot be overstated. Emphasizing a desire for an amicable separation, particularly concerning co-parenting, and maintaining mutual respect can help lay the groundwork for a healthier transition for everyone involved.

In preparing for this conversation, consider seeking guidance from mental health professionals and/or practicing what you intend to say. Emotions are bound to run high, and having a clear, rehearsed message can help you navigate the conversation with empathy and compassion.  It is important to avoid assigning blame

Don’t initiate the discussion during high-stress moments. Timing is important; choose a time when you both can engage calmly and have the space to process your thoughts and emotions.

Finally, listen to your partner’s questions and concerns attentively, and respond with kindness and understanding. While it may be tempting to engage in arguments or justify your decision further, remember that the goal is to navigate this transition with dignity and respect for each other’s feelings.

While there is not a painless way to deliver such news, approaching it with empathy, clarity, and consideration for your spouse’s feelings can mitigate some of the anguish associated with divorce. By prioritizing open communication and mutual respect, you can lay the foundation for a more amicable and constructive separation, ultimately fostering healthier outcomes for all involved.

Lisa R. Murray is an experienced Collaborative and Mediation Attorney.  She can help you determine the goals for your divorce and work to a settlement that allows you to achieve those goals.

She can be reached at 650-297-0367