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Tips for telling your spouse you want a divorce

At some point, you realized that your marriage was no longer tenable. The bad days had far outnumbered the good, and it was time to make a clean break. Coming to that realization wasn't easy, but your mind is made up and you are ready to take action.

You know that you have to sit down with your spouse and have "the talk," but you're dreading it. It could go really badly and you're worried how to begin. The following tips might prove useful when it comes to broaching the subject of divorce with your spouse.

Consider your timing

You might want to hold off if your spouse has just absorbed a bitter blow, e.g., the death of a parent, a job loss or a serious diagnosis. There's no point in piling more heartache on someone who is already suffering.

Then, too, you don't want to drop the bomb right before your spouse has to head off to work or another commitment. Choose a time and place where your spouse won't feel blindsided. If you expect that they will be emotionally shattered, consider addressing the matter in a therapist's office to minimize the trauma.

Don't get granular with details

Now is not the time to announce that you're seeking custody of the kids or intend to pursue alimony. Even if this is the case, now is not the time to share those details. There will be plenty of time in the months ahead for the two of you to haggle over the terms.

Be kind

Words can wound, sometimes even deeper than weapons, so choose yours with care. There is no need to pour salt into the wound by bringing up your spouse's shortcomings or assigning blame.

Even if you believe that you were the wronged party in the marriage, there are always two sides. It's not likely that your spouse wants to be the scapegoat for your failed marriage.

Preserve your future relationship as co-parents

Those divorcing couples who have children together will, by necessity, remain in one another's lives for the foreseeable future. Thus, it's prudent to refrain from burning any bridges.

Your co-parenting relationship must be handled with finesse to avoid it devolving into negativity. Leaving the door open for civility gives your children the best possible post-divorce lives.

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