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Tips for having 'the conversation' with your spouse about divorce

If you're looking at family law attorneys' websites because you're considering divorce, that's a wise first step. It's good to do some planning and preparation before you file for divorce.

Perhaps you haven't even told your spouse that you've made the decision to end the marriage. It's not always a mutual decision. Often one spouse makes the move to file for divorce.

You probably dread broaching the subject with your spouse, but it's necessary. It's never a pleasant conversation, but you can make it easier on both of you if you keep a few things in mind.

Choose the right time and place

It's typically best to do it when you're alone (unless you fear a violent reaction) and have time to talk. If you have children, make arrangements for someone to take care of them for a few hours or overnight. Don't just make the announcement and walk away. It also should never be done in the middle of an argument. You want your spouse to understand that you've thought about this calmly and rationally.

Be aware whether your spouse knows about your feelings regarding the marriage

How you approach the conversation will depend on whether it will come as a complete shock or whether you'll just be voicing what you both already know.

Be gentle, yet firm

Focus on what you feel and think and not what they've done. Remember to use "I" rather than "you" statements. While you want to be considerate of your spouse's feelings, let them know that you've made up your mind and won't be cajoled or "guilted" into changing it.

Don't start hashing out the details

This isn't the time to talk about custody, alimony or who's going to keep the dog. Wait until you've talked with your attorneys before you do that. If you've already consulted with an attorney, you should let them know and perhaps ask for their advice before you approach your spouse about the divorce.

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Attorney David L. Zerbe

The Zerbe Firm
15 West Center Street
Lawrenceburg, IN 47025

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