How to ask for a divorce when there’s no turning back

Couple discussing divorce

Asking for a divorce is never easy, even when you’re certain it’s the best option for you. Timing and the manner in which you present your decision are both critical when divorce is imminent. It’s also essential to speak with a divorce attorney and plan ahead before asking for a divorce. He or she can help you determine the best strategy for your divorce and take steps to protect you and your assets.

First, ask yourself: ‘Do I really want a divorce?’

Face it, marriage is hard, and most couples go through their ups and downs. Many people think about divorce when they’re married but that doesn’t mean they can’t work things out.

A study in the journal Family Process analyzed survey responses of married people ages 20 to 50 on the topic of divorce ideation. The survey revealed that 28% of respondents had thought their marriage was in serious trouble in the past but not recently. Another 25% said they had thoughts about divorce in the past six months. Based on various factors, the researchers concluded that “divorce ideation is common but dynamic, and it is not necessarily an indication of imminent marital dissolution.”

Many couples benefit from marriage counseling, and counseling is definitely worth considering before you mention the “D” word. I strongly advise against the divorce word being thrown around your household unless you’re ready to do it.

As we say in Texas, once you say “divorce” y’all are not friends anymore. Both parties typically go to their separate corners and start planning to do what’s best for them. If you open your mouth and haven’t filed for divorce already, you could also place yourself, your future and your assets in jeopardy.

Before you consider how to ask for a divorce from your husband or how to ask for a divorce from your wife, you better be pretty certain there is no turning back.

When to ask for a divorce

Before you figure out how to ask your spouse for a divorce, it’s essential to speak with a divorce attorney Fort Worth about strategy and timing, because those factors will play a key role regarding when to ask for a divorce. If you’re pretty sure you want a divorce, you should speak with your attorney before breaking the news to your spouse so you can take steps to secure assets, like filing injunctions to prevent your spouse from draining or moving community property.

It’s very common for assets to disappear during divorce, credit card charges to stack up and bank accounts to be drained. You may also risk missing out on hiring the divorce attorney you prefer because your spouse ends up speaking with them first (whether they end up hiring that attorney or not).

If you’re in a volatile situation with a history of family violence or where threats of violence have been made, your attorney can also help you get the proper restraining orders and emergency orders put in place to protect you and your children. A kick-out order to remove your spouse from the home is also an option but the burden will be on you to prove a threat exists—which needs to be backed by evidence.

Your attorney can also guide you on the best time to ask for a divorce in your case. Many factors come into play here. For one, there are some times of the year when it’s easier to get into court, plus you could face tax implications depending on when you file. If you have children, it’s typically best to bring up the “D” word when the kids are out of school, so that means the beginning of the school year is out.

How to ask for divorce: Be calm, direct and kind

Being proactive about how to ask your spouse for a divorce is a healthy step for both you and your spouse. From your perspective, you want to keep things calm to ease tensions and prevent any violent outbursts, especially if you have a volatile spouse. From your spouse’s perspective, keep in mind there’s a 99% chance that he or she will be shocked and emotionally distressed when you ask for a divorce.

As a divorce lawyer, my best recommendation on how to tell your husband you want a divorce or wife you want a divorce is to rip off the band-aid instead of peeling it away. You don’t want to beat around the bush. The best way to ask for a divorce is much like how an NFL team cuts an NFL player. They say, “It’s been great working with you. You’re cut.”

How to ask for a divorce is very similar. You start with a positive but go directly into the facts. Your divorce attorney can guide you on an approach that would be best for your circumstances, but the how-to-bring-up-divorce conversation could go something like this:

“Hey, listen, I care about you. I hope everything’s well. There’s no nice or easy way to say this but I want a divorce. I also intend to work fairly with you through this process and hope you will want to do the same. I know both of us are going to need some time to process this and expect we’ll go through different emotions at different times.”

Unless you’re dealing with someone who is violent or slams the door in your face, it’s nice to give your spouse a heads up that a process server will be coming by with the divorce papers in the event you’ve already filed for divorce. Next, it’s typically best to step away and give your spouse the space and time they need to process the emotions they’re feeling.

The right attorney matters when you’re deciding how to ask for a divorce

If you want to get clear, strategic insight about your divorce—and want it fast—you need to meet with an attorney who will take a deep dive into your case during the initial consultation. Unfortunately, many divorce attorneys only offer general “Divorce 101” advice during the first meeting.

Our Fort Worth law firm takes a different approach. During the initial consultation, we flesh out the divorce strategy as we review financials, discuss what rights and assets need to be protected (in the short- and long term), and address other specific goals (spousal support, child custody and visitation, child support, property division, etc.). Our clients walk out the door knowing exactly what strategy we recommend and what steps they should and shouldn’t take next, including when and how to ask for a divorce.

If you’d like to weigh options for a Texas divorce or child custody, contact us to schedule a confidential case review. During your consultation, attorney Justin Sisemore, founder of the Sisemore Law Firm, will take a deep dive into your case and walk through the strategy he thinks would work best for your specific situation.

To schedule your confidential case review, please call our Fort Worth law office at (817) 336-4444 or connect with us online.

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