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How Do You Tell My Spouse I Want A Divorce?

How Do You Tell My Spouse I Want A Divorce

One of the most difficult parts of the separation and divorce process is telling your spouse that you want a divorce. How you approach telling your spouse can set the tone for what is to follow; are you going to have an amicable separation process or will you be going to “war,” litigating every single issue in court? If you are conflicted about your decision to leave your marriage, you may wish to consult first with a marriage or family therapist, or a clergy member or an attorney, to assist you in making your decision. Once you take steps to separate, such as telling your spouse you want a separation and/or divorce, it may be difficult or impossible to reconcile, and you want to be sure that you are committed to your decision to proceed with the separation before taking the next step. Before you approach your spouse, consider carefully what you will say and where you will have the discussion. You want to be calm and discuss your decision in a way that results in the least amount of emotional damage to you, your spouse and your children.

You should state your desires firmly and be direct, but also show respect and kindness towards your spouse in your discussions. This is not the best time to catalogue all the reasons your spouse “caused” this separation and you should not approach the conversation with anger. Now is not the time to blame or shame the other, but a time to announce your decision in a calm and business-like manner.

Be prepared for your spouse to beg you for a second chance; think through how you will respond to his or her desire to go to or continue couples’ counseling, or his or her threats that you will never see your children again, or you will be cut off financially. Think through each possible response you are likely to receive from your spouse and practice in your mind how you will respond to threats, tears or indecisiveness from the other side. Also, be careful not to negotiate too many details relating to your separation at this initial discussion. In an effort to appease your spouse, you might commit yourself to terms of settlement that are not advisable or in your or your children’s best interest. If you feel uncomfortable discussing specifics of the terms of separation and divorce directly with your spouse, you should have your attorney make those offers of settlement at a later time.

You should schedule a time to talk when you both have some uninterrupted time and your children are not likely to walk in on your conversation. Be sure your cell-phones are turned off or are on silent mode so you have each other’s undivided attention. For safety and comfort reasons, you may choose to talk to your spouse about your decision to separate in front of a therapist, if you and your spouse have been engaging in marriage counseling, or alone together but in a public place. You may want to schedule a business meeting with your spouse at a quiet public place, like a coffee shop, where each of you drive to the public place separately. You can then always leave separately if one of you becomes overly emotional, upset and/or angry. If the discussion becomes emotional or overheated, either of you are free to leave the public place and go to a safer place until the other spouse has calmed down. If you have hired an attorney before telling your spouse of your decision to separate, consult with your attorney about whether to tell your spouse that you have an attorney.
You should gather together all relevant financial documents, such as tax returns, bank and other account statements, credit card statements and statements of retirement accounts. Make copies of these documents and store them in a safe place, such as your office or a safe deposit box. If you have access to online banking or other financial accounts, download records of any shared online accounts.

After you tell your spouse you are leaving, it is possible that your spouse may change the passwords or codes to these accounts, and it may become more expensive and difficult for you to obtain copies before you separate. Once you inform your spouse of your decision to separate, he or she may take steps that make it difficult for you to obtain the information needed to negotiate a settlement. The file cabinet that previously contained the tax returns and bank records might soon be emptied. While you are entitled to this information if you have to file a lawsuit, you can save money and time if you can assemble copies of the information yourself. Otherwise, you will likely incur the costs of your attorney filing a lawsuit in order to subpoena the banks and other financial institutions for the documents you could have copied on your own with some advance planning. If you suspect your spouse is having an affair, it may be wise to seek the assistance of a private investigator before you announce your intent to separate. Once you announce your desire to separate, your spouse may seek legal counsel, and his or her lawyer will most certainly advise a cheating spouse to assume he or she is being followed. Hiring a private investigator after you announce the separation might not be useful, if your spouse suspects he or she might be caught and starts behaving.

Short of an event involving domestic violence and danger to your personal safety, you should always seek legal advice in advance of telling your spouse you are leaving him or her. The attorney may advise you to take certain steps prior to informing your spouse of your desire to separate, in order to protect your legal interests. These steps could range from hiring a private investigator, securing financial assets, obtaining copies of financial or other documents, securing employment, or making a plan for where you might live. You might even want to have an offer of settlement prepared in advance of telling your spouse, so that you can provide the offer of settlement to your spouse at the time you tell him or her of your decision.

Signs Your Husband Wants to Leave You

1. He’s busy: There can be a myriad of reasons for your husband to be busy, ranging from a viable need to work more to pay the bills, to an escapist way of dealing with an unhealthy relationship with you. This is not a concrete sign that the marriage is headed for divorce. Many men unintentionally switch to working more and spending less time with their wives, not because they do not love them but because they feel the need to provide and cover their financial bases. Now, spouses definitely have to carve out some time to spend together, but your workaholic husband might just be less aware of this than you. At the same time, husbands who value the family very highly, but find their wives overbearing or themselves unable to cope with marital stress, can find mentally escaping in overworking therapeutic. He didn’t just stop caring about his family life whatsoever.

2. He’s emotionally distant and disconnected: A loss of emotional engagement and distance can occur as a consequence of the husband working long hours and the wife being busy with the household and childrearing, or vice versa. When both spouses work 60+ hours a week and need to carve out spending time together with the kids, they spend all their energy and have nothing left for each other. With this lack of attention, wives often feel forced to verbally knock their husbands on the head so that they receive more affection but it will not keep him at home but rather push him away. If you see a definite change in your husband – he used to be much softer or more open, and now he has become visibly more reserved and emotionally closed; this could be a symptom of an actual issue in your marriage. This is one of the warning signs that something has happened that your husband cannot tell you about, and the guilt and shame are isolating him from you. The best strategy is to show that you care and is always there for him – but don’t press, and don’t push to get information out of him. If the emotional coldness is a symptom of an issue in your marriage, you will be able to rebuild an emotional connection once you start working through it. You may need to visit a therapist. Or maybe you’ll be able to handle it on your own. Your task at this point is to let your husband know that you see that something is going on with him and that you want to help. Let him know that you miss your connection, but do not act hurt and do not shift the focus to yourself. If he is struggling with an issue, he is suffering too. So do not act egotistically. Focus on your mutual willingness to overcome whatever issue your family has come across. Also, be on the lookout for other signs and symptoms that will enable you to see the bigger picture.

3. He’s constantly fighting you: Non-physical on its own is not a bad sign but it is healthy to have different opinions on issues and not to agree on things just because you are married. Depending on temperaments and characters, disagreements can become rather heated, negative and blunt. If the two of you have not mastered the art of arguing in a productive way, you might say harsh words and hurt each other. However, notice that it is your inability to argue productively that is painful, rather than the mere fact of being in disagreement. Overall, check your own attitude towards fighting. Do you think that spouses should be in lock-step on all issues? Do you believe that thinking differently is a sign of strain in a marriage? Do you think that not agreeing means that he doesn’t love you? If you say ‘yes’ to these statements, you have an idealized view of marriage and of husband-wife dynamics. Remember that you are two very different individuals; it is great that you are different. If, however, you both are constantly insulting each other, your fights are bitter and you never apologize to each other, or if it is your husband who is insulting and non-apologetic, this is a sign that you have communication issues. It could potentially lead to a divorce if you don’t sort it out. There are great professionals out there to help you sort this out.

4. He’s gotten quiet: If you find yourself saying, “He’s too quiet, I think my husband wants to leave me.” In contrast to constant fighting, being quiet is normal. If it is obvious that his behavior has changed, there must be a reason for it and is not a sign that your husband wants out of the marriage. Don’t jump to a conclusion because he simply doesn’t know how to be emotionally expressive, nor wants to kill your mood. Take time and space to sort things out and handle this critical situation. Your husband’s sudden quietness might be his response to marital conflicts. Either his preferred mode of dealing with conflicts is avoidance: you may not have noticed it before, or you both used to bend with the wind but now, after several years of marriage, he feels that he does not want to fight so he chooses to avoid fighting altogether. Or he finds it mentally draining and pointless to expend that energy if it’s a small issue. If he’s not willing to resolve anything then it’s because he no longer sees himself in the relationship with you. It is high time to suggest marriage counseling.

5. He’s beginning to care more about his appearance: For some reason, many people believe that a sudden change in the partner’s appearance is a sign that he will leave his wife. However, grooming up is more often one of the indicators of an affair rather than a divorce. Your spouse might indeed be enhancing his physical appearance in order to impress his potential or current lover(s). This is highly unpleasant information to discover and if it is true, you need to think long and hard about how to proceed. Taken on its own, however, starting to take care of his appearance is not an indication of a divorce. A desire to eat healthier, exercise, and look better is great and does not necessarily mean there are issues in your marriage. The devil is in the details so look at the big picture. A good haircut and new clothes are good for career prospects too. Heading to the gym can occur when the individual realizes that good health is not a gift from heaven. If he wants you to join in, then he has probably reconsidered his approach to life and wants to lead a long and healthy life. However, if the husband gets secretive and you see him dressing up before going out and without you, this could indicate an affair – though not necessarily divorce.

6. Your sex life has become non-existent: When you try to initiate sex with your husband, he is either tired or has fallen asleep. He basically has the proverbial ‘headache’ wives stereotypically refer to. If he agrees to have sex, it is quick and unimaginative. Everyone knows that lack of sex in a marriage is a bad sign and should not just ignore this. However, there are many situations in the family when not having sex is completely normal. There are no guidelines as for the amount of sex in a marriage and can be complicated. If you have young children, and if your husband overworks and has been under stress for some time, this can result in a lack of sex drive. There is, however, a very straightforward reason when a lack of sex can potentially turn into a divorce. It is when your husband is having an affair.

7. He’s having an affair: Again, as with all the signs, it is important to see the whole picture. If you suspect that your husband is having an affair, physical or emotional affairs, because you do not know where he is and he’s been paying more attention to his appearance and phone of late, a lot depends on you and your reaction. Your husband might be that type of man who likes to sleep around, and does not particularly value staying faithful. For him, cheating is not a sign of divorce. He may just want to have both a family and a series of lovers.

8. He’s become shifty about money: If one day you notice that your husband’s behavior regarding money has changed, this can be a sign of a significant change in your relationship. No matter what your previous agreements were if you find out that your husband has moved money around from your joint account without telling you, it means that he is up to something. This is a sure sign of how to tell if your husband wants a divorce. This could be he is supporting someone, and or he is leaving you sooner or later and does not want you to get his money. It is true that not all couples have joint accounts. A few of the pros are having more money overall to use and when it comes to legal matters and you can see any significant changes in spending. The cons are feeling like you have less freedom, inequality in income and taking a big blow if you get divorced.

9. You find divorce attorneys in the search history on your computer: Your browser search history is the easiest resource you can use in an attempt to try and get to the bottom of your intuition or hunch. However, now that everyone has a personal computer or a laptop, and spouses often don’t share screens, you need to think about how you are going to explain your findings.

Divorce and Marriage Lawyer

When you need legal help with a divorce or marriage, please call Ascent Law LLC for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

Ascent Law LLC

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About the Author

People who want a lot of Bull go to a Butcher. People who want results navigating a complex legal field go to a Lawyer that they can trust. That’s where I come in. I am Michael Anderson, an Attorney in the Salt Lake area focusing on the needs of the Average Joe wanting a better life for him and his family. I’m the Lawyer you can trust. I grew up in Utah and love it here. I am a Father to three, a Husband to one, and an Entrepreneur. I understand the feelings of joy each of those roles bring, and I understand the feeling of disappointment, fear, and regret when things go wrong. I attended the University of Utah where I received a B.A. degree in 2010 and a J.D. in 2014. I have focused my practice in Wills, Trusts, Real Estate, and Business Law. I love the thrill of helping clients secure their future, leaving a real legacy to their children. Unfortunately when problems arise with families. I also practice Family Law, with a focus on keeping relationships between the soon to be Ex’s civil for the benefit of their children and allowing both to walk away quickly with their heads held high. Before you worry too much about losing everything that you have worked for, before you permit yourself to be bullied by your soon to be ex, before you shed one more tear in silence, call me. I’m the Lawyer you can trust.