Have Courage (And a Plan) When Facing the Start of the Divorce Process
By Duncan E. White, Owner
Inkpointe Divorce Solutions, LLC
IRMO, SC – Speaking the words, “I want a divorce” could be the hardest moment you’ll face during the entire divorce process. However, with a little courage and some planning, along with keeping the right frame of mind, you CAN get through it.
Half of the people going through a divorce will be on the receiving end of this message, while the other half are the bearers of this incredibly bad news. Let’s start with what NOT to do!
Many people aren’t prepared to accept it. You’re not sure of how your spouse will react (especially if infidelity is involved) and that fear can cause you to make very bad decisions during an extremely emotional time. For example, thinking that having this conversation in a public place will lessen the chance for hysterics is probably not a well-planned idea. In reality, that translates into your spouse having to sit in a public place while their world crashes down around them. This discussion will uncover emotions that many don’t even know they have – let alone having to sort them out in public.
So, what is the right answer? There probably isn’t one. This will be one of the most difficult conversations you ever have. Here are my best tips:
- Make sure the kids are somewhere else. It’s a great time for sleepovers with friends or a night with grandparents. You both are going to need space to work through this.
- Allow your spouse time to process. My best advice is to say it simply and directly and then let them know you don’t want to discuss anything right now. Maybe even decide to leave and spend the night somewhere else. You’ll both be better off for it.
- Do it in person. Whatever you do, do not do it in writing, through an email, or, God forbid, a text message! Have the courage to tell them in person.
- Speak only about yourself. Do not attack! No “you” statements. It should go something like this; “I have made a decision for myself that I need to tell you about. At this point, I can no longer stay in this marriage and I believe it will be best for both of us to start the divorce process. The reasons aren’t important right now. I just know that I need things to change. I also know this is a lot to absorb and it’s not really a good idea to talk about anything now. I’ve made arrangements to stay somewhere else tonight, so you can have some time to yourself. I’m really sorry.” And quietly walk out. It may not go that smoothly, but it’s a good intention to start with.
- Make sure you’re safe. If there is a possibility that you might be met with anger or violence, be sure that someone is with you. Have them stand by the front door while you speak to your spouse in private and then immediately leave.
I know this can be scary, but your life can’t move forward until you do.
Duncan E. White is a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA®) and has been a licensed financial advisor since 2010. He leads a Second Saturday Divorce Workshop each month for the benefit of those seeking information about the divorce process.
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Content in this material is for general information only and not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. LPL Financial and Inkpointe Divorce Solutions do not offer tax, legal or mortgage lending services or advice.