The right way to ask for a divorce

Breaking up is hard to do. That’s especially true when your life is deeply entwined with that of your spouse and you share children (and maybe social or professional circles).

If you want to approach your divorce maturely and aim for a relatively peaceful parting, there are right ways (and wrong ways) to go about the process. Here are some tips:

Choose your time carefully

The quickest way to start an all-out war is to announce that you want a divorce in the middle of a fight – or on their birthday or some other holiday. You also don’t want to lay something this heavy on your spouse right as they’re headed out the door for work or a business trip.

Find a time when you can sit down and talk without being interrupted, even if that means packing the kids off to a relative’s house for the weekend.

Don’t be wishy-washy

You aren’t really asking your spouse for a divorce so much as you are asking them to be cooperative and help you end the marriage with dignity and grace. If you sound like you’re asking for their consent, that can translate into a sense that you aren’t 100% sure the marriage is over.

Be firm and clear, but kind. Let your spouse know that you simply are not happy and you don’t see things changing. Explain that you want the best for both of you – and that means parting ways.

Don’t try to hash out all the details at once

This is a situation that’s bound to produce a lot of anxiety, but you really can’t answer all the questions about your split at once. You may have an idea of what you want to see happen, but the practical details can be hashed out later.

Ask your spouse if you can talk about things like custody, support and the division of property after you’ve both had a little time to recover from this initial conversation. Reassure your spouse, however, that you aren’t looking for a fight and that you want to work together on solutions that will suit you both.