How to Ask for a Divorce Respectfully

How to Ask for a Divorce Respectfully

December 1, 2023

By FairWell Family Law Mediation

Divorce is a sensitive subject and needs to be approached sensibly. Learn how to ask for a divorce with care and respect.

It’s estimated that nearly 40% of marriages end in divorce. There’s no denying that divorces are difficult life events that require some hard, frank conversations.

Sadly, the media often portrays the divorce process as filled with drama and shouting. This is an unfortunate portrayal because the reality is that most divorces are amicable.

You just need to approach it the right way. The key to starting this process off on the right foot is to know how to ask for a divorce in a way that’s respectful and empathic. This guide will walk you through the talk.

Know What You Want

Divorces are life-changing events. If you have kids, pets, or assets together, they can be particularly challenging. As such, before you begin the divorce conversation, it’s important to ask yourself some hard questions. Some of these questions include things like:

  • Do I want a divorce?
  • Am I using the conversation of a divorce to try and snap my partner out of their comfort zone and work on our relationship?
  • Is there any part of me that still wants this relationship to work?
  • Am I steadfast in my conviction that divorce is the right idea?

These are important questions to ask because they will dictate how the conversation flows. If your partner doesn’t want a divorce, knowing that it’s the right idea for your needs can help you remain steadfast even if they beg you to stay.

If you still want to be married, you shouldn’t use the threat of divorce as an incentive to work on your marriage. Instead, consider reaching out to a counselor.

Rehearse How to Ask for a Divorce

You want to approach talking about your divorce as a conversation. As such, you probably shouldn’t be writing down a speech to read to your partner. However, in the heat of the moment, it can be easy to lose sight of the reasons and rationale behind your divorce.

As such, it can help to make a bullet-point list of things you want to say during this conversation. Rehearsing how you’ll bring it up can help build up your confidence if you’re feeling nervous.

Choose the Right Time and Place

If you’re in the middle of a shouting match, the last thing you should do is scream that you want a divorce. A conversation about divorce needs to come from a neutral time and place when your decision isn’t heightened by emotion.

The place is also important. You should expect your divorce conversation to be long and difficult. In many cases, it can get emotional with lots of crying and anger. If you have children, you should try to make sure they’re out of the house.

Be Gentle But Firm When Asking

If your partner feels blindsided by your decision, they likely try to negotiate staying together with you. Don’t react angrily to this. Be as gentle and patient with them as you can.

But, at the same time, make sure that you stay firm in your decision. You know what’s best. If you believe a divorce is the right decision for you, your partner will need to accept that one way or another when they get their divorce paper.

Accept Any Responsibility

It can be easy to blame the other party when going through a divorce. In many cases, divorces can be one-sided, especially when they involve cheating.

However, even in the most egregious cases, it’s still important to have empathy for your partner when you begin this conversation. There are many ways to foster empathy in your relationships. But one of the best ways is to put yourself in your partner’s shoes.

Was there anything you did that might have contributed to the marriage ending? Admitting your mistakes can be hard, but it’s important to accept responsibility for your role in the marriage.

For one thing, if the conversation turns emotional, you’ll likely hear these mistakes thrown at you. As such, it helps to be prepared for them.

However, approaching your divorce conversation from a place of empathy instead of blame helps set a civil tone for the proceeding.

Discuss the Desire for a Peaceful Divorce

There are a lot of benefits that come with an uncontested divorce. They’re simpler, quicker, more affordable, and can be a collaboration between two former partners.

Unfortunately, issues like child custody and asset division can complicate divorces and quickly cause them to become contested. That’s why, early on in the conversation, you should express the desire for a peaceful divorce process.

It’s important not to try and hash out important things like custody during this stage. Save that for later with a legal professional. Instead, just say you want to do everything in your power to make the divorce process easy.

Let them know you’re open to negotiating until you find an arrangement that’s both fair and makes sense for your specific circumstances.

Find a Divorce Mediator

In contested divorces, both parties have their lawyers who negotiate and fight for your rights. But with an uncontested divorce, you’re working together to find an equitable solution.

A divorce mediator is a crucial part of finding this solution. They represent an objective third party who can negotiate between the two of you to find an arrangement that works for both parties.

During high-stress and emotional conversations, this is the person who stays calm and rational. As such, you want to make sure you find one who’s well-prepared to deal with this aspect of divorce law.

Make sure to ask these questions when searching for a divorce mediator. That way, you’re sure that you can find a good one.

Need a Family Law Expert You Can Trust? Contact FairWell Family Law Mediation

We hope this guide taught you how to ask for a divorce respectfully. Here at FairWell Family Law Mediation, we know that initial divorce talks are just the tip of the iceberg.

Down the line, there are going to be a lot of hard decisions that can quickly turn a divorce ugly. That’s why our mediation services are designed to find fair solutions that appeal to everyone.

Best of all, we work toward these solutions in a way that prioritizes trust between all parties. So if you’re ready for the family law help you need, contact us today.


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