The Moment Of Truth: Letting Your Spouse Know It's Over


I once read that everyone knows the precise moment that their marriage is over.

However, while some litigants may have an idea that their marriage is broken, not all believe their spouse would actually divorce them. Some litigants have come to see me absolutely devastated that their spouse had them served with divorce papers at work instead of telling them it was over to their face. When letting your spouse know the marriage is over, keep in mind that there is a human being on the other side of the equation. That human being deserves at least some measure of respect at the moment that you decide to break the awful news to them. There is something to be said for acting responsibly when you utter the phrase, “I want a divorce.” Here are my top tips for dealing with the end of your marriage with integrity and respect:

  1. Location, Location, Location. Never tell your spouse that you want a divorce in a public place or in front of your children. This is a private conversation between spouses, except if you decide to utilize a counselor or spiritual advisor to help break the news. When you look back later, you want to think of yourself as acting like a mature person who thought carefully about their choices. Not someone who thought humiliation or cruelness was the right way to go.

  2. You Reap What You Sow. Always think about your end-game. If you have children together, do you really want to make your ex-spouse mortal enemy number one? The way you act as your marriage is ending, sets the tone for the divorce litigation and post-judgment life afterwards. Be aware of the effect of your actions and words from the very moment that you tell your spouse it is over. Be tactful and do not deliberately try to hurt your spouse. The only thing you will get in return is retaliation in the form of scorched earth litigation. Are you looking for the “divorce from hell?”

  3. Open Mouth, Insert Foot. Do not blurt out that you want a divorce in the middle of a heated argument. Think through what it is that you really want to say. When a person is angry, they tend to say whatever comes to mind without a filter. Plus, in a fit of anger, you may not consider separation or marriage counseling as other options. Remember, there are some words you cannot take back. The big “D” is one of them.

  4. Don’t Be an Island. When a marriage is over, it is likely that communication with your spouse is already poor and you may not feel like discussing divorce. Simply put, in your mind it’s not open to debate. If this is the case, it’s okay to say to your spouse, “I want a divorce.” However, you should be receptive to hearing what they have to say in return, even if it is to express sorrow or talk about it. This is the first step towards both parties getting closure.

In closing, we are all free individuals and can do as we please in most instances. However, as responsible adults, we must always be conscious of the fact that whatever action we take, it has a corresponding reaction. Getting divorced is never easy. Making it a more tolerable process for both you and your spouse is always an option within your reach and one that you will not regret. Please visit us in our new expanded location in Red Bank, where we are ready to answer all of your divorce questions and help you through this difficult time.


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